In our second edition of Across the Press Box, the Daily Wildcat caught up with the CEO of Dash Sports TV Sam Arslanian to preview this weekend's game between the Arizona Wildcats and the No. 20 USC Trojans scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14, at 1:30 p.m. MST.
Daily Wildcat: How concerned are you about this USC team after Saturday's shaky performance against ASU? How much of the blame can be put on the Trojans' coaching staff?
Sam Arslanian: I'm not extremely concerned. USC has not started strong in the past few years and this year was no different. The bright side for USC is that it was able to "bear down" (yes, that was a pun) when needed. I don't put the blame on the coaching staff for that performance. Yes, there were bad coaching decisions, but at the end of the day, USC could not stop turning the ball over and that's a really hard thing to coach past. I would have liked to see a stronger defensive performance, but it was Todd Orlando's first game as defensive coordinator. I think a healthy amount of screaming from Orlando this week, will get the defense in line.
DW: What questions do you still have about this USC team?
SM: I really need to see that this team play a consistent game. It doesn't need to be a high-flying offense, like the last three-minutes against ASU, for the full 60 minutes, but USC does need to have some semblance of consistency going forward. It really comes down to: Can USC contain mobile QBs? Can the offense not turn the ball over?
DW: What will the Trojans have to do differently in order to avoid the upset this week?
SM: Very frankly, show up. USC will not be upset by Arizona. What I will say is that USC needs to find a way to step on a team's throats when given the opportunity. In my three years covering the Trojans, I have seen them play down to a team's level too many times to count. I'm looking for USC to figure that out.
DW: What position matchup are you most looking forward to?
SM: I'm looking forward to the quarterback battle. It may not be the best matchup on the field, but the thought of two young QBs battling it out always excites me. Spectators shouldn't write off Grant Gunnell just because he is a three-star recruit. Remember, Kedon Slovis only had three stars to his name. Do I think Gunnell will outplay Slovis? Absolutely not, but I am excited to see how they match up. Everyone knows what Slovis can do; we don't know what Gunnell is capable of. I'm sure Arizona fans are excited to find out.
DW: Who is one USC player to watch this weekend?
SM: It looks like USC's "air-raid offense" is starting to utilize the running games a bit more. Running back Stephen Carr is my break out player this year; he looks mean. I'm still looking for his breakout game and this game could be it.
DW: Final score predictions?
SM: USC 35, Arizona 14