Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/15/13
The changes at Southern California will not stop with new coach Bob Cantu, who Monday morning replaced Kevin ONeill on an interim basis for the rest of the season. Cantu plans to hit the ground running. He wants to play at a faster pace, use more zone defense with twin towers Dewayne Dedmon and Omar Orabi at the back end, and integrate several new players into the rotation. It is a tall order, and it will not happen overnight the Trojans play host to the Oregon schools this week, with newly elevated No. 21 Oregon in town Thursday, and there is only enough time for game preparation. When the UCLA game rolls around at new Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 30, USC might have its own new look. I worked with two great defensive coaches in Tim Floyd and Kevin ONeill, but I also believe I have to adjust to my personnel" Cantu said of 7-foot Dedmon and 7-2 Orabi. "I have two seven-footers, and so I think it is OK to play zone at times to use my length and size at the rim for resistance. I do want to try to speed it up a little bit offensively and try to get easier baskets. Its very difficult to score against five set defenders. I think we need more pressure full-court. We need to try to get turnover pushes, more foul shots and hopefully more offensive rebounding, other ways of scoring other than manufacturing against a set defense. ONeill favored a patterned offense and played almost solely a man-to-man defense as the Trojans opened the season 7-10, 2-2 in the Pac-12. It seemed a curious time for USC to make a coaching change, coming as it did after a 17-point victory at Utah on Saturday, but that in itself seems to indicate the decision already had been made. ONeill was 48-65 in 3 seasons after replacing Floyd in 2009, with injuries and the fallout from the NCAA probation issues surrounding O.J. Mayo muddying his tenure. I was saddened by it, UCLA coach Ben Howland said. I think Kevin is a really good coach. Weve had a friendship that dates decades, and theyve been playing well. Im watching them on tape, because they are our travel partner. I was a little surprised, but it is a part of this business. It was rare to see Dedmon and Orabi on the floor at the same time this season, but it sounds as if that might change, at least when the matchups allow. Washington and Arizona State have big, physical centers, and UCLA has a tall frontline. Dedmon and Orabi have combined to average 14.6 points and 12 rebounds a game while blocking 61 shots. Orabi, a transfer from Rice, is shooting 62 percent from the field in 15 minutes a game. I need to play Omar more minutes. We have to get him the ball, and I have to get him in better condition so he can play longer minutes, Cantu said. Wake Forest transfers guard J.T. Terrell and forward Ari Stewart also could see more time, Cantu suggested. Terrell, whose YouTube videos demonstrate his remarkable athleticism, is the Trojans second-leading at 9.6 points a game, but he is shooting only 31 percent from the floor and had 23 turnovers against eight assists. He was in and out of lineup because of that erraticism and seemed to have a rocky relationship with ONeill. Terrell, 6-feet-3, led five Trojans in double figures with 14 points in the 76-59 victory at Utah, when Dedmon had 13 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. He played under control, so he showed he can do it, Cantu said of Terrell. I told him that I would give him more freedom to play how he can play, but he has to earn it. He has to deserve it. I need him to play more athletic. We need him to score and make shots. He will play a very important role, because I think that will allow Jio (Fontan) to get more looks and for teams not to load up to him if he can score for us. Cantu ended practice Monday by handing out homework. He left his players with a question: Why do they play? Is it height? The scholarship? Notoriety? Answers were expected before Tuesday practice, and Cantu knew what he wanted to hear. I want to know do you really love this game, and do you have passion and do you want to win?" he said. "If you do, lets show it and lets come together and see what we can do. They are a lot of games left, and anything is possible." POLLING PLACE It took a while, but the improved overall level of play in the Pac-12 has drawn national attention. For only the second time this season, the league has three teams in the AP top 25: No. 7 Arizona (15-1), No. 21 Oregon (14-2) and No. 24 UCLA (14-3). Oregon jumped 13 places in the AP poll after sweeping the Arizona schools last weekend, handing Arizona its first loss Thursday, but remains unranked in the coaches poll. UCLA and Oregon are undefeated in Pac-12 play, and the Bruins have won nine in a row, their longest streak in four years. The Ducks have a five-game winning streak. Their match at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday afternoon will be the first between two Pac-12 AP top 25 teams since March 13, 2009, when James Harden-led No. 23 Arizona State beat No. 13 Washington 75-65 in the postseason tournament. Our conference is much better than it was (recently) UCLAs Howland said. Its back to, in my mind, where we were in 07, 08, 09. Its good for our conference. It is good for our national exposure and prestige for the league to have as many teams. With unranked Arizona State (14-3), the Pac-12 has four 14-win teams. The only conference with more is the Big Ten, with five.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

USMNT are big favorites against Canada

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Johnny Manziel dropped by agent

Michael Irvin: Cowboys should save Manziel

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

The merits of trading Blake Griffin to the Hornets

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

Could the Marlins contend in 2016?

Report: Browns to cut Manziel in March

Browns rip Manziel in statement

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker