Recruits will be among the many interested spectators at the Coliseum tonight when USC takes the field for the first time since the firing of Lane Kiffin.
ESPN 300 athlete and self-proclaimed Trojans supporter John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), one of the top targets on USC’s board, will be in attendance and paying close attention to how the team responds under interim head coach Ed Orgeron.
“Hopefully the USC program starts to improve,” Smith said. “This is the first game without Lane, so I’ll definitely be watching how they do.”
Longtime USC commit Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), who recently said he intends to listen to other schools while athletic director Pat Haden finds the next head coach, will also watch the Trojans closely.
“I just want to see them fight, battle and ultimately get the win,” Lobendahn said.
When asked what he wanted to see from USC under Orgeron, ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), another prospect who has rooted for USC since childhood, simply responded: “SC football.”
ESPN Junior 300 defensive end Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, Calif./Lutheran), who picked up a scholarship offer from Orgeron just hours before the Trojans kicked off their season in Hawaii, is confident USC will rebound.
“I just want USC to play football and not worry about all the stuff with Kiffin and the coaching change,” Lucier-South said. “I believe Coach O can change that. He’s a great coach.”
For fans, most of the complaints about Kiffin involved offensive inefficiency. ESPN Junior 300 receiver Desean Holmes (Mission Hills, Calif./Bishop Alemany), though, believes the troubles are in the past.
“USC is going to do better after the change,” Holmes said. “They just need to get the ball out faster.”
Class of 2016 athlete Brandon Burton (Gardena, Calif./Serra) will be looking for the same improvements.
“I want to see more production out of the offense,” said Burton, who landed a USC offer in the spring.
Orgeron stated he would do his best to bring more energy to the sideline, which is something 2015 offensive tackle Zach Robertson (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) will look for.
“I know he will bring a great deal of leadership,” Robertson said. “And I’ll be looking for a better atmosphere.”
The game will even attract four-star running back Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale), who drew some ire this past summer for publicly saying the Trojans would have a better opportunity to land him if Kiffin were gone.
“I just want to see a W,” Richard said.