Beat up USC begins preparations for Utah
It was loss No. 3 on the season for the USC Trojans (4-3, 1-2 Pac-12), who left South Bend on the short end of a 14-10 battle. It was also loss No. 8 in the last 13 games.
Under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, it's loss No. 1. That is the message Orgeron is hoping to get through to his football team. It's a message that's centered around positivity.
"This was only our second game together," Orgeron said. "When this all happened a couple weeks back we said we were going to take it one game at a time and so we're sticking to that plan."
The next game is at home against Utah (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12 South), a team that upset Stanford earlier this season. The team can't afford to sulk or lick their wounds. And they have a lot of them.
The good news is wide receiver Marqise Lee is questionable.
However, there's much more damaging news on the injury front. On Sunday night, Orgeron ruled out tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer along with running back Justin Davis for Saturday’s home matchup with the Utes.
Davis reportedly left Notre Dame Stadium on crutches with his right foot in a walking boot.
Running back has been a place of depth and Silas Redd appears to be returning to form, coming off of a 100-yard effort at Notre Dame in just his second game back from injury.
Tre Madden, who started the first six games of the season at tailback, didn't play against the Fighting Irish and is still not ready to practice nursing a hamstring injury, Orgeron says.
"He's still hurting," Oregeron said.
To compound things, the tight end position is one that has lost any depth it owned. Sunday night's news leaves USC with just one healthy scholarship tight end – Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick – heading into Saturday.
The walk-on tight ends are Orange Lutheran alum Shane Sullivan and St. Paul alum Chris Willson, who's also a quarterback. Combined, they've seen action in three games this season.
The tight end situation is one that will give Orgeron a lot to discuss during his Sunday night staff meeting.
"Right now it's in the preliminary stages but there is a problem there," Orgeron said.