For those hoping that the recent NCAA sanctions would destroy the unity of the 2010 USC Trojans, that just isn’t the case.
The consequences of the poor decisions made by Reggie Bush and his family will be placed upon the shoulders of the current players, and will limit the new coaching staff on the always unpredictable recruiting trail, but it certainly hasn’t dampened the mood during the players-only workouts this offseason.
“The mood of the team is great,” cornerback T.J. Bryant said. “Regardless of what happens, what are we going to do come out here and lay down? We are going to keep playing. We love this game.
“The fact that we could possibly have a game taken away from us hurts because we love the game so much, but in the end there is nothing that we can control about that.
“We can only do what we can control, and that is coming out here, get better, and get ready for the season.”
Days after the ruling was handed down, fans from across the country were focused on Los Angeles, hoping to see the USC program, that had been the dominant force in college football, crumble to the ground with negativity and player defections.
Many observers tried to run with the narrative that the stain of the NCAA ruling would tear this group apart, ruin team morale and cause distractions in the locker room, but honestly, there has been no evidence of that thus far.
“We are not too worried about (the NCAA ruling),” senior cornerback Shareece Wright said. “Coach Kiffin sent out a great message to us and he said what we needed to hear. It’s important that the role players and leaders on the team keep everybody’s mind right.”
Wright has taken it upon himself to be a positive example during this trying time.
“My message is just to use it as motivation and stay focused on the things that we can control. Don’t let anything outside of football stop us. The leaders need to step up and be leaders, and I am just trying to do that.
“We got to keep getting better and win 13 games. That’s the main objective.”
As we all know by now, NCAA rules allow USC’s juniors and seniors to transfer without having to sit out a year, and with this news, the so-called experts were just waiting to cover the mass exodus from Heritage Hall.
One player away from being a true contender? Rent a Trojan. Just lost your star wide receiver to injury? Look West. Need help on the offensive line? Invade Troy.
The thought of a ‘free agent market’ made up of all the four and five-star recruits that other schools had missed on in the past had the rumor mill working overtime.
Mitch Mustain, coming off his five touchdown performance in the spring game, was rumored to just about every school in the country that was looking for an upgrade at the quarterback position.
He has since stated that he plans to finish his career at USC.
Internet message boards buzzed with the thought that T.J. Bryant might take advantage of the opportunity for a fresh start and head back east.
He has since shot down those rumors.
“I don’t know where everybody’s sources are coming from, but I have said nothing about transferring and I plan on sticking here,” he said.
Backup linebacker Jordan Campbell is one player that took advantage of the opportunity to openly transfer, and there could be others that follow, but for the most part the Trojans have remained remarkably upbeat, and focused on the upcoming season.
As Shareece Wright stated: “We are going to do it with the people that we have here because the people that are here are true Trojans and Trojans for life.”
Lane Kiffin has tried to keep his team focused on the upcoming season.
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