As the USC Trojans football team kicked off the season, all eyes were on their defense. The burning question was whether their defense had improved from last season when it often let the team down. This offseason, the Trojans were determined to strengthen their defensive unit, recognizing its pivotal role in achieving their goal of reaching the College Football Playoff and clinching the National Championship. They took decisive steps, including recruiting multiple transfers, to bolster their defense. The first three weeks of the new season seemed promising, but over the weekend, their defense faced a significant setback when they squared off against Arizona State.
In their match against Arizona State, the Trojans’ defense allowed 28 points, a concerning performance against a team known for struggling with offensive consistency. At times, the defense appeared disorganized and lost on the field. This unexpected stumble has put Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch, who already started the season on the hot seat, under even greater scrutiny.
Despite escaping with a two-touchdown victory, the Trojans are well aware that to remain competitive, they must raise their defensive standards. Against stronger opponents, such a performance won’t suffice, especially considering their challenging schedule ahead. Next on the agenda, the Trojans will face the Colorado Buffalos in Boulder, followed by a home game against Arizona. Subsequently, they will take on top-ranked Notre Dame and Utah in back-to-back weeks.
Should the defense fail to make substantial improvements, the Trojans could find themselves in a precarious situation come mid-October. Learning from their recent game and addressing any issues promptly is imperative for their success.
“One of the things is — are we a bigger, faster, stronger football team as we sit here today than we did a year ago? The answer, not in my opinion — it’s fact — is, we are,” Grinch said. “Now, we gotta make sure we play more physical, we play faster and all of those things. Then also with that is make sure we put the guys in the best situations to be successful.”
While the USC Trojans may not reach the pinnacle of defensive prowess, they need to adopt a “bend but don’t break” mentality. Achieving this balance is crucial to secure Alex Grinch’s position and fulfill the high expectations fans have for this season. The Trojans’ future performance hinges on their ability to rectify defensive flaws and remain competitive as the season progresses.
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