When is enough, enough? (from Bruce Bagni) ErikMcKinney Administrator Staff Member Joined: Apr 17, 2018 Messages: 5,813 Likes Received: 14,508 Jan 4, 2021 #1 *Bruce Bagni is a 1966 graduate of USC and a longtime friend of Garry Paskwietz and WeAreSC.com. I am a life-long SC fan and longtime financial supporter of Trojan Athletics. I first started watching Trojan Football around, 1956/57, when my boyhood hero, Jon Arnett, made Number 26 a lasting part of Trojan Lore. “Jaguar Jon” was an incredibly quick, fast, tough and elusive running back, whose agility had been greatly enhanced by years of gymnastics and ballet. As you can imagine (or, actually, know in the case of you older guys), I’ve experienced the various highs and lows (mostly highs) of SC Football during that roughly 65-year period. Although we’ve had some bad seasons, we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as an elite program and iconic brand. I’ll come back to reputation and brand equity later in this article. I was a freshman at SC in 1962 when we went undefeated, beat Wisconsin in one of the more memorable Rose Bowls (remember when we used to own the Rose Bowl?), and won the national national championship. This was the beginning of John McKay’s run during which he won three more national titles. The 1972 Team is still considered by many as the greatest team ever, having gone undefeated and producing many All-Americans and 14 draft picks in the ’73 draft. John Robinson had some great teams, as well, as did Pete Carroll. Even though we had some bad coaches and mediocre seasons during the period between Robinson and Carroll, we still produced tough, physical teams and lots of All-Americans and high draft picks. For the most part, we were still considered the class of the West Coast and a feared foe for just about all of our opponents. Carroll, of course, changed the trajectory and brought us back to the pinnacle of college football--- and continued and strengthened our tradition of playing tough defense and pounding our opponents with big, physical offensive lines. Sadly, the post-Carroll era has been marked by bad coaches and bad athletic directors. To be sure, the unwarranted and unduly harsh NCAA penalties played a significant role, but we’ve still been able to attract many outstanding recruits. The chances—and players—have been there, but we’ve largely seen mediocre teams and players that have not improved. It’s been coaching, coaching, coaching, and we all know that. Now, we have reached the absolute nadir of Trojan Football! The coaching is atrocious and the players are undisciplined. Neither the players nor the coaches seem to improve. To be sure, we have some bright lights like Hufanga, Slovis , St. Brown and London, but they have been stymied by the coaching. Look at a guy like Stepp. Do you blame him for transferring when we continue to require him to start his runs from a stationary position out of the spread, even on 4th and 1, or the goal line? Unlike Trojan teams of the past, we ask our runners to run sideways, often without any extra blocking. It’s painfully obvious that the QB needs to be under center, probably with a blocking back, so that the back gets a head start . So, if we can all see it, why can’t the coaches see it? Poor Slovis! This offensive system is killing this kid. No running game, a bad offensive line and long-developing pass plays are a prescription for QB injuries. Ask J.T. about how things have been for him this year compared to his time at SC. As if the offensive side isn’t bad enough, the defense is just as erratic, giving up too many big plays, especially third and longs. Special teams seem to be better, but I continue to be amazed by the lack of a return game. Overall, we play undisciplined and inconsistent football. Too many penalties and puzzling times-out. The sad reality is that we are no longer the Trojans that our opponents once feared and the television networks loved (don’t get me started on Larry Scott!) The trademarks of SC Football are only sporadically there, and fading. Marv Goux’s guiding principle, “Big Man on Big Man” and the kind of toughness and desire that it implied, are merely faint echoes on the practice field these days . We catch only an occasional glimpse of a big, strong dominant offensive line, power running and a dominant defense. Let’s face it: we are no longer the formidable West Coast power feared and admired throughout the country. This is particularly painful for me as a Florida resident having to listen to all the SEC talk (lots of it justified). We have all watched (helplessly) as our reputation and mystique are evaporating, as we have morphed into a “finesse” team that runs sideways and tackles inconsistently. This is the turning point for the program. Our reputation and brand equity were built over many years, and we still have a measure of them on which to rely. Many big recruits and their families still believe in us and want to continue the Trojan Tradition, as do all of us. But make no mistake about it: the administration and the head coach are squandering that equity and reputation, and we are on the road to becoming a nice Mid-American Conference team. Just like trust, once these virtues are lost, they are damned difficult to revive. The time to act is now! TheTrojanKnight, DADMoyock, Dallas Schwartz and 60 others like this.