The Hogue Report: USC timing just right? 

October, 16, 2012
Silas ReddKirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PRESSWIRESilas Redd is helping USC establish an identity as a balanced offense heading down the stretch.
Sometimes, in the middle of a season like this, a game or two may appear to be more meaningless than others. All attention Saturday was on Baton Rouge, Dallas and South Bend. USC was supposed to handle its business in Seattle, and it did, although in a lackluster style with no scoring in the second half. And this week brings a Colorado game few will watch and may resemble more of a JV scrimmage.

But if you actually pay attention to what Lane Kiffin is doing, and you don’t pay attention to the numerous negative headlines, you can actually notice than something is going on with the Trojans. And while it’s not necessarily pretty, it’s important. A team identity is emerging.

Something happened after Kiffin’s self-admitted off night in Palto Alto earlier this year. Sure, the Trojans have seemed less than elite with three wins in four weeks against the Bears, Utes and Huskies, but this mid-season period has given Kiffin the chance to get some perspective. He seems to understand his team -- strengths and weaknesses -- more than ever. He’s seen how teams have adjusted to play the Trojans, and he has also had the chance to look at the remainder of the schedule and get a sense of what lies ahead over the next six grueling weeks. His focus isn’t on individual stats, “SportsCenter” highlights, flashy scores or lopsided wins. His focus is right where it should be -- giving this group of Trojans their best chance to win a championship.