F. Scott Fitzgerald ended The Great Gatsby with the metaphor of boats beating against the current, an image that has become so cliché it seems to have lost all meaning.But it was hard not to think of the passage while watching USC flail against Washington on Saturday. And it wasn’t only the boats sailing on Lake Washington just outside of Husky Stadium that conjured up the image.Unfamiliar ground · USC coach Pete Carroll is not often outcoached in football games, but that was clearly the case Saturday in the Trojans’ upset loss to Washington, columnist Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz writes. – Leah Thompson | Daily TrojanThe Trojans’ struggles against a scrappy, mid-level Pac-10 team have become so institutionalized at USC that the annual event is almost a cliché in itself. Instead of being surprised by Saturday’s outcome, most Trojan fans felt like they were headed in a direction they had been before.In fact, it’s a surprise there wasn’t a USC fan in the crowd who could have spoiled the ending for everyone based on past follies. A true fan might have stood up after USC’s tying drive and blurted out, “I’ve seen this one before — the other team kicks a field goal in the final seconds and the fans rush the field. I’m gonna head out and beat traffic.”But this year was supposed to be different, right? USC coach Pete Carroll spent all week insisting the Trojans wouldn’t be caught off-guard again, that they had finally learned their lesson.To the players’ credit, they certainly appeared up to the task. They made it look like they were on pace for another USC blowout with their first quarter performance.“It wasn’t a question of being ready to play emotionally or anything,” Carroll said, drawing a contrast to past letdowns.This wasn’t a matter of the Trojans falling behind and seeing their comeback cut short by time or one key play like in so many past losses.It was simply a case of USC getting outcoached.Carroll took ownership for the loss immediately afterward, despite most of his players showing maturity by placing the burden on themselves. But this mea culpa might mean the Trojans are in for more trouble.With Carroll having more than enough scouting information at his disposal, there was no excuse for being unprepared for what the Huskies threw at the Trojans. USC coaches and players alike said after the game that there were “no surprises” in the game beyond their own mistakes, but maybe that’s a cause for concern.The Trojans’ struggles to adapt down the stretch might have been understandable if Washington had beaten USC by employing some Boise State-like gadget plays.But Washington could have broadcast its gameplan on the JumboTron and USC still might have been too fickle to adjust.Carroll’s blunders are best exemplified by his handling of the quarterbacks throughout the week. Both he and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates kept reporters guessing while they waited to see how Matt Barkley’s shoulder injury progressed. But with the bone bruise to the true freshman improving only incrementally over the week, sophomore Aaron Corp took all the first-team snaps and looked like he had seized temporary command of the position.At some point, Carroll would have to invest himself in Corp and show him that the team was committed to rallying around him as a starter.Or not.Asked when the coaching staff told him he would be starting Saturday’s game, Corp said — with his head held low — that “they never really did.”Corp would never say it, but the message came through louder than a bullhorn: USC’s coaching staff never really showed faith in him.The coaches’ attitude was evident in the play-calling. Corp was forced to be a dropback passer instead of using his trademark mobility. It’s possible the decision was due to the lingering effects of Corp’s preseason fractured fibula, but coaches insisted during the week that he was 100 percent recovered.Their trepidation also showed on a third-down play from the Huskies’ 7-yard line when the Trojans elected to run the ball instead of taking a shot at the end zone. Ensuring the game-tying field goal may have entailed the lowest risk, but since when has Carroll made it a point to adhere to coaching conventions?Corp was not at his best on Saturday, but quarterbacking should never be a pop quiz. Yet Corp is the one who unfairly faces being a potential pariah among students instead of Carroll.If Carroll isn’t a fan of Fitzgerald, perhaps he can learn through literature by picking up a book by Malcolm Gladwell. The coach references Outliers when referring to Barkley, but he might want to take a look at The Tipping Point, which details how the tiniest factors can catalyze unforeseen and sometimes disastrous endings.The book could re-emphasize the point that if the Trojans can’t get back to their normal standard of play, they will find themselves falling short of another Pac-10 championship. Then the only thing at stake will be an at-large BCS bid. Or the Holiday Bowl. Or the Sun Bowl.And if English isn’t Carroll’s pleasure, maybe a spelling lesson will do. Right now, there’s no “SC” in the word “finish,” despite what those T-shirts may say.But finishing strong might be the only way for Carroll to right his ship.“Tackling Dummy” runs Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Michael at email@example.com.
Published on March 11, 2020 at 11:01 pm firstname.lastname@example.org | @cincinnallie Gregg thinks that her southern upbringing has contributed a lot to the kind of person she is, too. Nancy pushed her hard all her life to succeed in softball and with everything she does, she said, and that materialized as a fast player with an ability to hit gap-to-gap when needed.Gregg’s hometown of Hoover is a town full of lakes and creeks, and she’d often spend her summers when she is not playing softball by the lake with her family, she said. Not only is Gregg adjusting to a new culture, but she is also playing softball in a completely different setting. They practice indoors and travel more than previous teams she has been on. The situation is different, but it’s all the same sport, she said.“At the end of the day it’s all just who wants to compete and who wants to win more and who works the hardest,” Gregg said. “There’s teams in the South like that and teams here in the North like that.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ The average January temperature in Hoover, Alabama is 45 degrees. For Jamie Gregg, that meant she could play softball outdoors all year long. But now that she’s in Syracuse, Gregg had to adjust to the weather.“I had never seen snow before,” Gregg said.Last year, Gregg was a freshman at Mississippi State and had just one at bat the entire season — a strikeout. The Bulldogs primarily used her as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement in center field, but this season Gregg has batted leadoff in 16 of Syracuse’s 20 games. Mississippi State used her speed in certain situations, but Syracuse (10-10, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) uses her as an everyday player. She’s started all 20 games in center field and is third on the team in average and stolen bases, cementing a new role in the Orange’s offense.“I do know what it’s like to be on a team where you just never get a shot,” Gregg said. “I think I play the best when I have the most fun.”When Gregg was at Mississippi State, she was a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from home, and her mom, Nancy, could go to every game — the same way she had since Gregg was seven. At Hoover High School, Gregg hit .432 over two seasons and led the 7A class in Alabama in runs scored and stolen bases. After one year with the Bulldogs, though, she wanted to transfer, and her destination was over a thousand miles north.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s hard not getting to see her (at Syracuse), not getting to go to all of her games like I was able to when she was in Mississippi,” Nancy said. “I had not missed a game since she started playing softball.”Despite the distance, Nancy has made it to a few games, she said. In October, she traveled to Syracuse and watched an exhibition game. In February, she flew down to Miami for the Felsberg Invitation — Syracuse’s opening weekend and one of five tournaments down south.Teammates call Gregg “‘Bama”, and the Orange’s social media account has even started to, too. When she hit a double against Rutgers on Feb. 14, the @cuseSB account tweeted, “BAMA AGAIN!!! Jamie comes thru with a two-bagger to cut the Rutgers lead in half! We trail 10-8.”
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