Hogue Report: How will players react? 

September, 9, 2013
Pathetic. After the performance Saturday night, I can't think of any other word with which to open this column.

Washington State is/was the weakest Pac-12 team, even if they are a bit improved under Mike Leach. And yet USC – at least on offense – played and/or coached as if it was scared to take the field. It was possible that the Trojans could lose to the Cougars coming into the game. But not like this.

Lane Kiffin
AP Photo/Jae C. HongIt's up to USC's players to try to ignore the outside pressures on Lane Kiffin and the program's future.
And while the papers, columns, websites and sports radio will be alive with commentary about whether Lane Kiffin should stay or go, my thoughts are with the players. What is their mindset? Can they put this behind them and prepare for the next week, and the week after that? And on and on for 11 more? Does the weight that their coach undoubtedly feels show itself to this team? Are they still with him?