Grinding Gears: USC wasn’t the team to watch on Saturday

first_imgPerhaps it was for the best that USC’s 41-28 loss to Utah was buried in the Los Angeles sports headlines on Saturday, with the Dodgers winning the pennant and a fight breaking out at LeBron James’ Lakers home debut. It deserved to be hidden on television on the Pac-12 Network and on radio — due to the Lakers game — on a country music station.It wasn’t worth watching or listening to anyway.The same, predictable things happened. The Trojans jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but not on the offense’s merits. The first touchdown, an ill-advised throw into double coverage from freshman quarterback JT Daniels to junior wide receiver Michael Pittman, should’ve been intercepted. The second was a defensive score.Despite the early lead, at no point did the offense have a rhythm. At no point did Daniels look comfortable. At no point did this team, stacked with five-star recruits, look even slightly in control against a far-less talented Utah team. We’ve been over this, time and time again.It was hardly a surprise when Utah came back, a la Texas. When USC failed to score on its final five possessions of the first half, it was already over. The halftime score read 20-14 in favor of Utah, but it felt like total domination.In the end, it was. The Utes scored 34 unanswered points and racked up 541 total yards of offense, more than doubling USC’s 205 yards. The Trojans managed 73 yards on the ground and 132 yards in the air. They started the game 0-for-10 on third down conversions and possessed the ball for more than nine fewer minutes than the Utes.Translation: not good.“We hadn’t had a night like that since Alabama in ’16,” offensive coordinator Tee Martin said.I was at AT&T Stadium two years ago for that rout, a 52-6 loss to open the 2016 season. I never thought I’d witness anything close to it again. But Saturday was, in fact, USC’s worst offensive performance since that game, when the Trojans recorded 194 yards of offense against the Crimson Tide.In that game, with USC down big in the second half, a backup redshirt freshman quarterback by the name of Sam Darnold saw his first action in garbage time. It wasn’t long before he took over the team, and we took the quarterback position at USC for granted. It didn’t matter that the playcalling was suspect, or the defense slipped up, or something happened on special teams — Darnold cleaned up the mess for the next two seasons.Now, with a true freshman at quarterback, USC no longer has that luxury. We’ve known this since the opener against UNLV, and especially after Weeks 2 and 3, when Daniels showed growing pains in losses at Texas and Stanford. It is Week 7, and he still hangs in the pocket too long, still throws off his back foot when he doesn’t need to.But the losses aren’t on Daniels. Plenty of college football teams have freshman quarterbacks who are inexperienced and make mistakes in their debut seasons. That’s fine. That’s what happens when you trust an 18-year-old to run the offense.Head coach Clay Helton said it himself in his postgame presser, so I won’t sound too accusatory: Blame the team’s shortcomings on him.“I’m going to put everything on me, as far as performance,” Helton said. “My job as head coach is to make sure we’re performing at a high level, and we didn’t do go enough to win the football game.”Step one is recognizing the problem. Helton did that.  Step two is solving it.It starts with putting the quarterback in the best situation to succeed. That means establishing the run game so Daniels is not forced to throw the ball on third-and-long. It is incredible that with three stellar running backs, USC’s rushing attack is still inconsistent and failed to hit 100 yards against a Utah defense that played a Cover 2 formation — which invites the offense to run the ball or throw for short gains — for much of the night. Not only did the Utes clamp down on Daniels’ pass attempts, but they also shut down the run.“We hit it up a couple times [on the ground], but not consistently enough to take them out of Cover 2 and we weren’t running it consistently enough [for Utah to] feel like they needed to change,” Martin said.That responsibility — calling the plays, making in-game adjustments — rests on the shoulders of the coaching staff. Week in and week out, this team has far too much talent for play-calling to drag everything down. This team is too good to not be in control of the Pac-12 South.But that’s where we are. If, for some reason, you didn’t want to watch the Dodgers or Lakers on Saturday and flipped over to USC football, you saw exactly what has plagued this team all season long. And as the mediocrity drags on for the remainder of this season, one can’t help but wonder what the tipping point is for the people in charge at Heritage Hall.  Eric He is a senior majoring in journalism. He is also the managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Mondays.last_img read more

Svenska Spel delivers major venue upgrade by going cashless with IGTPay

first_imgShare Svenska Spel has ushered in a ‘new era of gaming’ by announcing that it has deployed IGT’s ‘IGTPay’ cashless payment provisions across its venues. Sweden’s gambling monopoly has amplified its venue payments capacity, having recently upgraded its VLT operating platform to IGT’s ‘INTELLIGEN’ and Quasar systems.The upgrade enables Svenska Spel customers to have the option to transact safely and securely with VLT terminals through their mobile devices.  “Launching IGT’s cashless product provides our players with a reliable, cutting-edge cashless solution that connects directly with the Swish mobile app, helping us drive efficiencies while responsibly advancing the player experience,” said Magnus Lannersund, Director of VLT Operations at Svenska Spel AB.Since 2018, IGT has led the technology-focused ‘modernisation project’ of Svenska Spel venues, undertaking an upgrade of circa 5000 VLTs in gaming halls across Sweden.Further project upgrades have seen IGT overhaul Svenska Spel’s retail player management provisions and improve venue end-to-end maintenance, installing its centralised Quasar system.Svenska Spel has branded IGTPay’s cashless deployment as a major corporate directive, streamlining its venue’s engagement for modern consumers, while also being fully compliant with Swedish laws on cashless transactions.  Ryan Reddy, IGT Vice President, Systems and Payments Products, added: “As the relevance of cashless and contactless gaming innovations continues to grow, technologies such as IGT INTELLIGEN with IGTPay become critical components of the player experience, and solutions that can bring tremendous value to our global customers.“We have established a dedicated Payments Team to ensure that customers such as Svenska Spel are equipped with IGT solutions and services that deliver modern payment options that align with consumer expectations and future business opportunities.” Submit Svenska Spel becomes 2020 eHockey Championship sponsor August 18, 2020 Jason Ader – No Boogeyman… Activism will play a vital part in reshaping gambling August 20, 2020 LeoVegas hits back at Swedish regulations despite Q2 successes August 13, 2020 Share Related Articles StumbleUponlast_img read more