by Steve Bisheff
Funny how a sense of urgency can change things. And maybe change people, too.
Give Steve Sarkisian and Justin Wilcox some credit. USC’s head coach and defensive coordinator watched Stanford manhandle the Trojans’ defense a week ago and realized, as the heat and the criticism mounted, that both they and the players had to kick it up a notch.
The result was a remarkable reversal of form against Arizona State on Saturday night. Granted, the Sun Devils aren’t nearly as physical as those bullies from up north and, for much of the warm evening, Todd Graham’s team pretty much self-destructed in Tempe.
But USC’s defense had a lot to do with that 42-14 bludgeoning. It was more aggressive, more energized and, yes, more passionate. Su’a Cravens, Delvon Simmons and Co. were making plays all over the field. They collected sacks, made interceptions, recovered fumbles and generally performed at a level heretofore unseen in the brief Sarkisian era.