Mitchell: Trojans Moving Backwards
Norm Chow and Lane Kiffin
Norm Chow and Lane Kiffin
Posted Aug 30, 2013

Might be time to start backing up the moving trucks in LA

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb
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The bulls will describe Thursday's victory over Hawaii as a gutsy road win. A defensive effort. An example of all things moving forward.

The bears will remark that if not for sloppy Hawaii quarterback play and 20 points off four interceptions, the final score of this one could have been 13-10, Hawaii.

The truth is likely somewhere in the middle, as it always is. But one thing is for certain – this is no longer Pete Carroll's USC. If you harbor even the wisp of a fantasy for the good ol days - a yearning for a return to greatness, you best rip those thoughts from your head right now. There's no hint of Carroll's swagger in the Trojans anymore. No mention of his relaxed confidence yet focus on execution.

Carroll no doubt deserves some of the blame for leaving USC in such a precarious position, but head coach Lane Kiffin has done nothing to lift this team up.

While the roster might not be as deep as the Bush years, there's still enough talent on this team to crush a mid-level foe like Hawaii. And yet here were the Trojans…tripping over themselves. Nine penalties, two turnovers, going 3-14 on third down conversion attempts...

Being down 5-3 with four minutes to play in the first half.

Quarterback Cody Kessler had twice as many pass attempts as Matt Wittek, although on the surface the latter seems to have had a better statistical outing. However, that's the problem – whether its play calling or just play period, neither quarterback is distinguishing himself, nor pulling away from the other.

It's difficult not to think this will be another tough season for the Trojans. Keep an eye on Saturday, September 21, when Utah State arrives in Los Angeles. Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton's line Thursday against the PAC-12's Utah Utes, in Salt Lake City was 31/40 for 314 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Plus 85 yards rushing on 15 carries, and another touchdown.

That is the polar opposite of what Kiffin and Co. saw from Hawaii's Taylor Graham…and they struggled at time against him.

Tick Tock, Kiffin.

Russ Mitchell writes for CFN and Campus Insiders. Follow him @russmitchellcfb

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