Breaking Down Ray Lewis' Glorious, Epic Pep Talk to USC

Kyle KensingContributor IOctober 16, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 22:  Ray Lewis, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker takes the field before the game against the Houstin Texans at M&T Bank Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Ravens defeated the Texans 30-9. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

How could USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron keep the excitement evident in his first game leading the Trojans going into Week 2? 

Easy: Bring in one of the most noted hype-men in NFL history to give the team a pep talk. Retired University of Miami and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis visited the USC football team on Tuesday with some words of advice. 

When a two-time All-American, 13-time Pro Bowl selection, seven-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion speaks, players like Trojans linebacker Devon Kennard listen, as he expressed on Twitter

The USC athletic department made the YouTube video private, but excerpts live on through the social media ether and via a brief transcription at

Effort is between you and you. Effort. This ain’t about X’s and O’s.  

Dismissed head coach Lane Kiffin's play-calling was a frequent topic of derision, but USC also struggled with execution. The root of effort and execution is the same—personal accountability.

Orgeron spoke of this very issue earlier this week with the Los Angeles Times, saying of the team's approach to practice, "The accountability factor is much higher." 

I wondered, when I got to the University of Miami, because there were so many great athletes…what makes me different? How do I stand out?

The Miami program Lewis joined in the 1990s was at the apex of college football in much the same way USC was through the 2000s. A steady stream of 4- and 5-star recruits come through Heritage Hall, and all are sure to be compared to each other. 

They're also stacked up against the many outstanding players who represented USC before them. 

While the great teams of the Trojans' past will always set the program's bar, this year's team has the unique opportunity to set a new standard for future teams. USC is in a rare time of transition, and how this team finishes a tumultuous season will set the foundation for the coming years.  

Greatness is a lifestyle.

Surely this is one the official Trojan Twitter account can co-opt as a hashtag for the remainder of the season.  


Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer for B/R. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kensing45.