Planning for success: USC

The USC Trojans are surging in a positive direction right now with five consecutive victories in the Pac-12 and a ton of momentum under interim coach Ed Orgeron.

The Colorado Buffaloes, on the other hand, are struggling. Sure, they are coming off a 41-24 victory over Cal but that was their first conference win of the year and it broke a 14-game conference losing streak. And, by the way, Cal is winless so far this year in conference play.

The Buffs are in the first year with a new coach in Mike MacIntyre but the results on the field simply haven’t seen much in the way of improvement. The team is last in the Pac-12 in total offense (380.6 yards per game) and No. 11 in total defense (477.9 yards per game). With those kind of numbers, it stands to reason that the Buffs shouldn’t present too much of an obstacle to a USC team that is looking to keep hope alive for a potential berth in the conference title game. But Orgeron says his squad will need to show up ready to play, regardless of the opponent.

“We know it’s going to be a challenge to avoid a letdown but our players will maintain their focus,” Orgeron said. “They trust our process and respect that we have a lot of things to play for.”

If there is one player who has gotten the attention of the Trojans, it is Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson, who has is No. 4 in the country with 120.1 receiving yards per game. Originally from Southern California, Richardson was part of the 2009 state championship team at Gardena Serra along with current Trojans Marqise Lee and George Farmer, as well as former USC star and current Buffalo Bills receiver Robert Woods.

“If you ask me, he’s the best receiver I have seen on film this year,” USC cornerback Josh Shaw said of Richardson. “He is special.”

Shaw is coming off one of his better games of the season, holding Stanford star receiver Ty Montgomery to four catches for 23 yards. The USC defense has seemingly settled in recent weeks after Shaw moved back to the corner position from safety and his play will be key to preventing Richardson from having a big day.

Another USC obstacle to note could be the weather. As would be expected, a late night kickoff time in Colorado in late November could be a little chilly, as in somewhere around the 32 degree mark.

“As far as the weather, we will not address it,” Orgeron said. “The game will kick-off at 7:30 and we will be ready.”

You get the sense these days that if Orgeron tells the USC players it isn’t cold, they will believe him. That’s the way things are rolling these days for the Trojans. If they can keep the momentum going on Saturday, it should be a good day for the cardinal and gold.