Notre Dame expecting a similar look from USC

Notre Dame expecting a similar look from USC
October 18, 2013, 5:45 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The most famous Ed Orgeron story comes from his first team meeting as head coach at Ole Miss. Bruce Feldman's "Meat Market" detailed it: Orgeron worked up so much emotion addressing his new team he ripped his shirt off, and got the room alternatively chanting "Ole Miss!" and "wild boys!"

That's just who the aggressively-Cajun coach is. In other words, he's not Lane Kiffin

"Coach O is just a high-energy guy, gives his all on everything," running back Amir Carlisle, who spent a year at USC, said. "He's got that raspy voice and you'll hear if from every corner of the field. He's just a real high-energy, good coach."

[RELATED: For Notre Dame's Carlisle, facing USC will be 'weird']

Carlisle was quick to compliment Kiffin, who was fired by USC after a 62-41 loss to Arizona State last month. But things had got so bad in Los Angeles -- for example, the "Kiffin don't know" flap -- that USC felt it needed an in-season coaching change.

The Trojans have played one game under Orgeron, beating Arizona 38-31. But it's still the same team, a group that lost 10-7 to Washington State and 62-41 to Arizona State.

"They didn't, obviously, go to a spread no back, you know, up tempo," coach Brian Kelly said of the Arizona film. "They were within profile, and they're certainly going to go to their strengths."

[MORE: Notre Dame ready to unleash Sheldon Day on USC]

One thing offensive lineman Zack Martin noticed was USC simplified a lot of things against Arizona, opting to let its talent shine through. Still, it was just one game, and there wasn't a complete overhaul.

Quarterback Tommy Rees saw the same thing.

"They obviously do a lot of the similar things," he said Wednesday. "Obviously they had pretty good success last week with coach Orgeron. They're an extremely talented group of guys, like they have been for a really long time now."

It's a team with loads of talent at the skill positions -- running backs Tre Madden and Silas Redd, receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor -- that hasn't put everything together this year. USC passed downfield more against Arizona, which Kelly saw not as the product of a new regime but because Arizona was cheating its safeties down, allowing Agholor to burn the secondary on deep throws.

[RELATED: Toughness keying Jones' breakout season for Notre Dame]

From an energy standpoint, perhaps USC had more against Arizona, but that only pays off for so long. After storming to a 28-3 lead, Arizona fought back and was a defensive stop and scoring drive away from tying things up in Tucson.

But even if that energy carries over, Martin pointed out that a night game for Notre Dame's biggest rivalry means it won't have as great an impact.

Notre Dame can expect a few tweaks, but nothing significant, on Saturday. Even with a completely different guy coaching the team.

"There'll be some slight variations, and we'll have to be prepared for that," Kelly said. "Again, they're going to be who they are six, seven weeks into the season."