Thursday, September 08, 2005

USC Rolls the Rainbows

After a long wait (seemed like forever), Trojan football is back on the field. The Trojans made the long trip to Hawaii and came away with a dominating 63-17 victory. Winning in the Islands is never easy (just ask Alabama and Michigan St.), but USC took care of business and played solid football. The Trojan offense lived up to the hype and looked explosive, versatile and dominant.

I've heard several people (Trojans, Bruins, Domers, media) saying the USC defense is soft because it gave up 377yds passing (and over 400yds total) to Hawaii. Here are my thoughts (not sure anyone cares, but I will give them anyway)

  • Pete Carroll's philosophy is to keep the ball in front of you, avoid the big play and cause turnovers. He will give up yards, but as field gets smaller (opponent in the redzone) it becomes easier to stop the short passing game (see Cal game last year). USC caused 3 turnovers, 2 of which led to touchdowns for the Trojans. Points matter, yards do not. 17 points is a solid effort against the run and shoot
  • Hawaii ran an offense that USC had not seen on film and one for which the Trojans did not gameplan. Hawaii has not run the quarterback draw and qb option in the past....this was a new wrinkle that caught USC by surprise. It took the Trojans a quarter to adjust
  • In 2003, USC played Hawaii at home and gave up more yards passing, more total yards and almost double the points. That USC team went 12-1 and won the national championship. It is tough to judge the USC defense based on the Hawaii game....Arkansas game should be a good test

Notes and Tidbits

  • While the USC offense looked great, it was still very vanilla. The Trojans used little of the playbook and did not show future opponents much of the arsenal. They may even be setting up Bush as more of a decoy for future games. Look for more of Hancock, Kirtman, Byrd and White against Arkansas
  • I expect to see Fred Davis, Patrick Turner and William Buchanon make some big plays this year even though they barely played vs Hawaii
  • The USC offensive line looked awesome...may be the best Trojan offensive line in 25 years. There is good depth behind the starters as Radovich (guard), Rachal (guard) and Williams (tackle) are good enough to start right now

  • LaJuan Ramsey looked fast and active at DT....if Sedrick Ellis can hold his ground at NT, I think the defensive line will be OK
  • The corners looked real solid....very happy to see John Walker on the field and playing well. Rumor is that true frosh Kevin Thomas has the lead to lock down the the 4th corner spot (frosh Will Harris had the inside track prior to an ankle injury)
  • The Hawaii offensive scheme makes it difficult to evaluate the linebacker play....the smashmouth style of Arkansas will be a good test
  • Darnell Bing is likely hurt worse than has been reported. May be out up to 6 weeks. The coaches love Josh Pinkard and have confidence in his ability to step right in. Scott Ware needs to play better
  • Notre Dame looked very impressive vs Pitt. The Irish have a very good OL and a solid offensive scheme. Their defense is still a question mark, but I think the Irish have a chance to beat Michigan and will certainly give the Trojans a challenge in South Bend
  • I am still not completely sold on UCLA....Maurice Drew and Marcedes Lewis are very impressive and the Bruin OL is good. However, their WRs do not appear to be threats and the defense is a major question mark. They will beat Rice this week, but the Owls may run for 200yds on the Bruins
  • I will spend more time on Arkansas next week, but the Hogs will bring a smashmouth running game to the Coliseum, including a mobile quarterback. The passing game is a question mark, but the Hogs do have some good wideouts. It will be a challenging game for the USC defense

Tailgate Update

Full details on the tailgate in the next blog, but we will be set up in the regular spot at 12:30. There are some great games on, so we are looking forward to a relaxing afternnon watching football. ND/Mich St starts at 11:30, UCLA/Oklahoma at 12:30, Fresno St/Oregon at 4pm, Tennessee/Florida at 5pm. We have a new grill and will be cooking up some great food....a variety of adult (and non-adult) beverages will be available. Hope to see you there.

More next week

Fight On!


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