Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Bruins and ESPN GameDay Visit the Coliseum

We hope that everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. The Trojans certainly needed a break after playing 10 consecutive weeks. USC survived a close game against a solid Fresno St team. I was impressed with the Bulldogs, particularly in how they took USC's best shot in the third quarter and came back to actually lead the Trojans in the 4th quarter. What can you say about Reggie Bush? He just makes big plays in important situations that make a real difference in the outcome of the game. He is truly a special player.

Tailgate Update

  • We had another great tailgate for the Fresno St game....thanks to everyone for helping out
  • Special thanks to Phil Navarro for providing and cooking the wonderful lobster, albacore and yellowtail....Phil has now spoiled us two years in a row with this tasty feast! Of course, he is now morally obligated to provide for us every year :)
  • It was fun to set up next to Fred Matua's family....we were able to trade lobster for bbq'd pork as well engage in some interesting dialogue. Congrats to Fred and his family for making 2nd Team All Pac 10! John Walker's parents were there as well
  • I am not a big fan of the night games, but it is clear to me that the crowd is much louder and enthusiastic for the 7pm games vs the 12:30 games
  • This is the last Coliseum tailgate of the year and with the Bruins coming to town and GameDay making an appearance it should be an electric day!
  • This will be the fifth time that the tailgate crew has been in attendance for GameDay and it is an awesome experience. The Trojans have won four huge games with GameDay in attendance (Rose Bowl 2003, Cal 2004 and Notre Dame 2004 and 2005) and we are hoping to go 5 for 5.

  • Obviously this game will be sold out and with GameDay here, I would expect another early arriving crowd
  • We will be serving our regular breakfast menu as well as a light lunch pre-game. We will be serving food post game as well
  • Pre-game we will be watching Texas and Colorado play in the Big XII Championship Game and post game we will watch the second half of the SEC Championship Game (LSU vs Georgia)

Quick Fresno St Review

  • This week is all about the Bruins so I will not spend much time on the Bulldogs
  • I thought USC played well against Fresno St with the exception of special teams which were terrible
  • I have heard many complaints about the defense, but I think most of the blame goes to special teams. Both Fresno TDs in the 4th quarter were on drives less than 20yds thanks to a long punt return (and penalty) and a fumbled kickoff....hard to blame the defense for 20yds drives
  • I was disappointed to see the Fresno OL getting into the USC linebackers and creating running lanes up the middle....despite that, Fresno still only rushed for 110 yards on 32 carries...very respectable run defense
  • Oscar Lua looked like his knee was bothering him quite a bit....I was surprised that Rey did not see more time at MLB....I hope Oscar can get healthy for the Bruins
  • Dwayne Jarrett did not have his best game as a Trojan...he did not seem comfortable with the press coverage....I expect DJ to play much better this week
  • The defense continued to force turnovers...5 vs the Bulldogs, including 2 interceptions by Darnell Bing. The Trojans lead the nation in turnover margin
  • Reggie was just outstanding....one of the greatest to wear Cardinal & Gold. His performance was one for the ages
  • Mario Danelo has quietly made 9 of 10 field goals this year, including 3 field goals against the Bulldogs
  • Fresno did not have anything left in the tank after playing the Trojans, suffering a terrible loss at Nevada on Saturday night

UCLA Preview

  • The Bruins are clearly a better team than last year, due primarily to the improved play of QB Drew Olsen
  • The Bruins have an explosive and dynamic offensive attack. Both of UCLA's outstanding RBs (Maurice Drew and Chris Markey) are threats as runners and receivers
  • The Bruins have relied heavily on RBs catching short passes (screens, slants) and turning them into large gains....Markey and Drew lead the Bruins in yards per catch. The Trojans must be able to keep the passes to the Bruin RBs to short gains
  • In addition to the backs, the Bruins have a very effective and dangerous tight end in Marcedes Lewis. Lewis leads the team in catches, yards and touchdowns....he is the clear "go to" receiver for Olsen
  • QB Drew Olsen leads the nation in passing efficiency and has 30TD passes vs only 3 interceptions. He is making great decisions right now and throwing the ball with outstanding accuracy
  • UCLA's OL is serviceable, but probably not as good as last year. The Bruins have allowed 20 sacks this year (vs 14 last year and 14 for USC this year) and are averaging 4.2 yds per carry (vs 6.3 for USC)
  • It will be interesting to see if the Bruins try and run at the middle of the USC defense, as Fresno St did with some success in the 2nd half...Fresno has an outstanding center that allowed them to make it work
  • Maurice Drew is very dangerous in space, but tends to get caught up in the pile...let's hope USC can keep him contained
  • Overall, UCLA is ranked 4th in the conference in rushing offense, 5th in passing offense and 5th in total offense...however, due to outstanding special teams and a positive turnover ratio, the Bruins are ranked 2nd in scoring at 40pts per game (5th nationally)
  • The Bruins will move the ball and score points, but I am hopeful that USC can slow down the UCLA running game, put some pressure on Olsen and not allow the backs or TE to make big plays
  • Maurice Drew leads the nation in punt returns and has 3 TDs returning punts...he has not returned kickoffs this year, but don't be surprised to see him back there on Saturday
  • I doubt that USC will punt to Drew, instead choosing to kick it out of bounds or out of the endzone. If USC can control the ball and field position with the running game, it will make it much easier for Malone to punt the ball out of the back of the endzone
  • Defensively, the Bruins have struggled this year and are ranked last in the conference in rushing defense (115th nationally). I am sure the Trojans plan to run the ball often in this game
  • Don't be surprised to see the Trojans throw early to the fullback or throw the quick hitch to Jarrett early to set up the run...I can't think of a single game in the last 5 years when USC committed to running the ball early in a game
  • The Bruin DL is undersized, but have recorded 24 sacks this year
  • Assuming LenDale is healthy, I expect him to have a big game...the Bruins struggle to tackle and White is a load to bring down
  • The Bruin corners are solid and the safeties are very good....however the Bruins only have 5 interceptions this year (vs 22 for the Trojans)
  • Leinart struggled a bit last year vs UCLA (due partially to getting his bell rung)....I expect Matt to be sharp in his last game in the Coliseum
  • The main reason the game was close last year was that USC was 1 for 13 on 3rd down conversions and 0 for 7 for TDs in the redzone (5 field goals). USC is #1 in the country in 3rd down conversions this year
  • USC should have an advantage on the OL (vs Bruin DL) and this could be the biggest difference in the game...last year an injured Jeff Byers struggled to block Kevin Brown
  • Reggie Bush was named Pac 10 Player of the Year for the second consecutive year and 9 Trojans made first team and 4 made second team...congrats to those who earned these honors

UCLA is talented and this is a rivalry game. Let's hope the Trojans can grind out another tough victory at the Coliseum. See you there!

Fight On!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Successful Road Trip....Home Stretch Ahead

For the first time during the overlapping Jeff Tedford and Pete Carroll eras, USC and Cal did not play a close game as the Trojans won 35-10 in a very convincing manner. Due to shaky Cal quarterback play and the improving USC defense, the Bears were never able to mount a charge. Matt Leinart looked sharp both throwing the ball and running it, while the defense continued to play tough and force turnovers, despite continued injuries.

Tailgate Update
Another night game this week with kickoff at 7:15. The game is sold out and has been sold out since August...I expect about 20,000 Bulldog fans to be in attendance. The excitement is building as the Trojans play their last two regular season games at home...The crowd is going to be a full 92,000 and will be very loud. Given the excitement and the large Fresno contingent, I expect this to be an early arriving crowd. Phil Navarro will be setting up his traditional lobster and fish feast for this game....it was awesome last year!

Please let me know if you plan on attending (and how many) so we can plan accordingly.

This is the traditional rivalry week in college football so there are some great games to watch during the tailgate. Virgina Tech vs Virgina, Michigan vs Ohio St., Alabama vs Auburn, Oregon vs Oregon St. and Cal vs Stanford are some of the games we plan on viewing.
Cal Review

  • Leinart had an outstanding game and his numbers would have been much better, but for a few dropped passes
  • Matt's two TD runs add a new dimension to our offense in the red zone...one more thing for opposing LBs and defensive coordinators to think about
  • I was impressed with Cal's defense, particularly the secondary. The Bears did a good job of holding Reggie in check, but Lendale had an outstanding day
  • Cal's CB Hughes (#13) had nice coverage most of the day on Jarrett and also had some solid tackles in the open field
  • It was good to see Dom Byrd getting some balls thrown his way...hopefully he knocked off some of the rust last week and will make some plays this week
  • Fred Davis continues to be an outstanding blocker...Davis and Byrd is a difficult two tight end set to deal with
  • Interesting to see the reverse to McFoy....I wonder if that is his payback for blocking so well on the running plays
  • How about those USC freshman LBs! Maluagua and Cushing were the two leading tacklers and Rey also had an interception and a fumble recovery...amazing to see the talented depth the Trojans have on this team
  • I was shocked at how poorly Joe Ayoob, Cal's QB, played...however, the Trojan defense does deserve some credit for making him look that bad
  • The defense forced 6 turnovers (4 pics, 2 fumbles) after forcing 5 turnovers last week. The Trojans are now +17 for the year in turnovers, ranked 1st in the conference and third nationally

  • I know I have said this the last few weeks, but the Trojan defense is really starting to gel. The secondary seems stronger with Pinkard at corner and the DL is becoming a force to reckon with. With John Walker getting healthy and Oscar Lua possibly returning to the line-up, USC's defense may be peaking at the right time
  • USC held Cal to under 300 total yards and kept both RBs (Lynch and Forsett) under 100 yds rushing
  • The Cal wide receivers caught 5 passes for 28 yards...that is an amazing stat!
  • USC fans had a very impressive showing at Cal...I would estimate 18k-22k in attendance. The Trojan crowd was loud when Cal had the ball and the Spirit of Troy just took over the stadium....It was a great experience!

Fresno St. Preview

  • The Bulldogs are 9-1 and ranked 16th in the polls...their only loss was a close 37-34 defeat to Oregon in Eugene
  • Fresno St comes in with some lofty statistical rankings....#5 in scoring offense (40 pts per game) and #8 in scoring defense (15 pts per game)
  • It is hard to evaluate the Bulldog's statistical rankings because the quality of their competition is so low...opponents are 37-48 and when they played 7-2 Toledo, the Rockets were without their star QB
  • Fresno has a veteran QB (Paul Pinegar), two backs who have rushed for 1,000 yards (Mathis and Sumlin), a legit NFL receiver (Paul Williams) and a quick shifty WR/Return guy in Adam Jennings
  • Fresno is a run first team (178 yds per game) and the Bulldogs keep it on the ground 57.4% of the time (vs 47.8% for USC). However, the Bulldogs do like to throw the ball downfield to Paul Williams who is averaging over 19 yds per catch (higher average than any Trojan)
  • Williams is 6'2 and fast...also a dangerous runner on the reverse or end around
  • The Bulldogs have a good balanced offensive attack that will challenge the Trojans. Pinegar is a mobile guy and he may give the USC defense a bit of trouble outside the pocket
  • I expect the Bulldogs to try and run the ball and use the short passing game to try and control the clock and move the chains....Fresno is ranked 3rd nationally in 3rd down conversion percentage at 53.7%. I also expect the Bulldogs to utilize Pinegar in their running game...both planned QB runs and scrambles
  • While Fresno has been successful running the ball this year, they did struggle to run the ball against Oregon (their one quality opponent) ....Mathis had 70 yards on 18 carries, less than 4 yards per carry...I think the Trojans will be ready and well prepared to face the Fresno rushing attack
  • Fresno has had success throwing the deep fade down the sidelines to Paul Williams, I fully expect the Trojans to keep a safety over the top of Williams all/most of the game and force the Bulldogs to beat them with running and short passes
  • Defensively, the Bulldogs play a hard aggressive style. I am impressed with their DL, but feel that USC will find ways to use that style against Fresno (middle screen after play action, mis direction runs, etc)
  • Fresno has very good special teams, particularly punt return and kickoff return...it is important that the Trojans do not let the Bulldogs make big plays in the return game
  • The Bulldogs have struggled with penalties this year, particularly false starts....let's hope the Coliseum crowd is loud and makes a difference!

Fresno is a talented team and one that will be a challenge to the Trojans. Lets hope that the Trojans can earn another home victory. See you Saturday.

Fight On!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Into the Bears' Lair

Don't look now, but the Trojans seem to be hitting their stride. USC just hammered the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday night 51-21, taking a 37-0 lead in the second quarter. In my view, the Trojans have played very well the last 3 games (much better than games vs Oregon, ASU and ND) and the offense appears to have found its rhythm....I know this makes Coach Carroll and Matt Leinart very happy.

The tailgate on Saturday was outstanding, thanks to everyone for helping make the tailgate a great game day experience for everyone. In particular I would like to thank Curt and Jennifer for generously supplying the wonderful food (great tri-tip!) and Aaron and Melanie for bringing the keg. Next week brings another special meal, as Phil Navarro will be bringing lobster and yellowtail for the group. Those of you who attended the Notre Dame tailgate last year can attest that Phil brings some great fish!
Stanford Review

  • The Trojans stormed out of the tunnel and just dominated the Cardinal in the first half, building a 37-0 lead
  • Reggie was on fire in the first quarter, including an awesome TD run where he simply outran the Stanford safety, despite the fact the safety had the angle
  • The Trojans were able to successfully complete a few screen passes, something USC has struggled with the last 4 games
  • The offensive line was outstanding...again. USC averaged 6.5yds per carry and allowed zero QB sacks
  • Jarrett continues to amaze....#8 made another unbelievable TD grab while racking up 101 yds on 8 catches
  • The Trojans finally let the TE position out of the bag....7 catches for the tight ends, including 2 TDs. It was great to see Fred Davis get in the endzone...this kid has worked real hard and has a bright future at USC
  • Who could of predicted that Fred Davis (1) and Jimmy Miller (2) would each have more TD catches than Dom Byrd (0) through 9 games this year
  • I hope Dom is healthy enough to play against Cal....he is a dangerous weapon
  • Stanford came into the Coliseum having zero turnovers in the last 4 games....they left with 5 turnover against the Trojans....it is amazing how Pete focuses on turnover margin (USC is leading the conference and 6th in the nation)
  • The Trojan corners are struggling with the deep ball....this is something we have not seen in USC teams under Pete...I know this is a focus of the coaching staff and I believe USC will improve in this area
  • While the Trojans only recorded one official sack against Stanford, USC put several hits on the Cardinal QB and pressured him often. I am quite sure he was sore on Sunday!
  • Lawrence Jackson was outstanding....during one series, he hit the QB 3 plays in a row
  • I think that Pete's friendship with Stanford head coach Walt Harris had a major influence on the game plan in the second half. Pete really called off the dogs in this one

Thoughts on the Cal Game

  • Cal may be 6-3, but the Bears are a quality team with very talented skill players and an established history of playing the Trojans tough
  • One factor that is different this (other than the players of course) is that USC played Cal early in the season from 2002-2004 (6th game, 4th game, 5th game) and this year the Trojans are seeing Cal in the 10th game
  • The reason I mention this is that it certainly seems that the Trojans have played better football later in the year under Pete Carroll (including this year!)
  • I expect about 20k Trojans to attend the game and I look forward to seeing many of you there
  • Cal has an outstanding rushing game (2nd in the conference behind USC and 8th nationally), averaging 243 yds per game. The Bears have two very dangerous backs in Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett, both who average over 100 yds per game
  • Many will claim that Cal has just feasted on weak OOC foes, but the Bears are averaging 229 yds rushing per game in the Pac 10. Oregon State somehow managed to hold the Bears to 75 yds rushing (at Cal), but all other Pac 10 teams have given up big time yards on the ground to Cal
  • The Bears' offensive line is very good, although they did lose their starting tackle to a knee injury several weeks back
  • It appears that Cal's offensive line is more adept at run blocking than pass blocking....the Cal OL has given up 19 sacks (vs 10 for USC), including 18 sacks in 6 Pac 10 games (vs 6 for USC)...lets hope the Trojan DL can put some pressure on the QB
  • Cal has struggled with the passing game this year (last in the conference), averaging 201 yds per game and completing 49.6% of passes. The Bears have also thrown 12 interceptions, tied for 2nd worst in the conference
  • The Bear's QB, Joe Ayoob, is a very athletic, mobile quarterback who has struggled with accuracy and decision making...I expect the Trojans to try and confuse the first year starter
  • Cal has 3 outstanding wide receivers with Desean Jackson, Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins. All 3 are talented, but inexperienced...Jackson is a real playmaker with legit speed and the ability to make people miss in the open field
  • I expect Cal to work hard to establish the run and mix in the short pass (screens to Lynch, bubble screen to Jackson). I also fully expect the Bears to try and beat the Trojans with the deep pass a few times
  • Cal will likely try and replicate their game plan from last year (same as ND this year)....the question will be can the Bears convert consistently on 3rd down. The Irish did (48% on the year and ranked 10th nationally), but the Bears are converting 35.9% of 3rd down conversions (ranked 78th)
  • Lock of the week-Cal will attempt a pass from either a WR or RB in this game
  • The Trojans have historically played well against one dimensional running teams...I expect the Trojans to try and force Ayoob to make the throws necessary to win
  • The health of Oscar Lua (bruised bone in knee) and availability of Rey Maualuga (visiting his severely ill father) will impact the Trojans ability to stop the run. Oscar is going to try and practice on Thursday and Rey has much more important issues to tend to than football right now
  • If the game were today, USC would start Rivers, Ashton and Williams at LB, with Cushing and Maiava getting major playing time as well.
  • Cal has struggled against the better defenses in the Pac 10, averaging 315 yds per game against Arizona (#4 in Pac total D), Oregon St (#5) and Oregon (#2). The Bears racked up on average 550 yards per game against Washington (#6), UCLA (#7) and Washington St (#10).....The Trojans are ranked #1 in total defense
  • There is no doubt in my mind that Cal will break some long runs and probably complete a long pass. I just hope that USC can minimize the damage and the Cal points on the scoreboard
  • Defensively, Cal is ranked 3rd in the conference in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense
  • One could make the argument that Cal's defensive statistics are overrated because they have not played the #1 (USC) or #2 (ASU) offenses in the conference.....#3 (WSU) lit up the Bears for 601 yds and 38pts. To be fair, Cal also has not played the #10 offense either
  • The front 7 for the Bears is talented, but lacks experience. The secondary is full of talented veterans. McCleskey and Hughes are the two best players in Cal's secondary
  • I expect the Trojans to continue and execute the same game plan we have seen the last 3 weeks....I hope the Trojans can establish a great offensive rhythm early in the game
  • The Trojans are leading the nation in yards per carry....we might see the Trojans try and pound the ball more in the second half
  • It would be great to see a Trojan tight end make a big play while matched up with an inexperienced Cal LB
  • I would like to see the bubble screen to Jarrett used early and often...he has a nasty straight arm and usually gets 5-8 yds. This play also seems to draw in the corners, leaving more room for the big play down the field

The bottom line is this...Cal has talent, lots of talent, but has struggled to put a complete game together at times due to inexperience at key positions. The Bears are dangerous and have played the Trojans tougher than anyone during the last 3 years (84-79 cumulative score). It is likely this will be a very tough game in a hostile road environment. Lets hope the Trojans can grind out another tough victory on the road.

Fight On

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Goodbye Washington, Hello Nor Cal

The Trojans completed the Washington Sweep for the second straight year by completely dominating the Washington State Cougars 55-13. USC beat the Washington schools by a combined score of 106-37 (80-12 last year) and now the Trojans take on the the two Nor Cal schools in back to back weeks. This week the Stanford Cardinal comes to to visit the Coliseum and next week the Trojans travel North to take on the Cal Bears. As a side note, the Trojans struggled last year vs the Nor Cal schools, winning both games by a combined 54-45 margin.

Tailgate Update

  • We have been fortunate to enjoy a great season of tailgating so far this year. Thanks to everyone for contributing food, drink, cooking skills and most importantly your presence!
  • Thanks to everyone's help, we have been able to create a mellow, family environment at the tailgate...the goal is to make it like your family room (with a few more people), just at the Coliseum
  • The Stanford tailgate should be outstanding. Curt & Jennifer are leading the charge to take the food to the next level....tri-tip, shrimp/chicken kabobs and more on the menu this week
  • In addition, Saturday features some of the best pre-game football viewing of the year including Notre Dame/Tennessee (11:30), Cal/Oregon (12:30), UCLA/Arizona (3:30) and Miami/Virginia Tech (4:45)
  • Please let me know if you have any suggestions, comments or complaints

Notes & Tidbits on the Washington State Game

  • This game was dominated by the Trojans from start to finish...the offense was outstanding, but I am starting to get excited about the defense (remember what I said last week!)
  • 745 total yds for the Trojans vs 284 for the Cougars (more on this below)
  • 40 USC first downs vs 13 for the Cougs
  • This is the 3rd time this year that USC has scored 28 points in one quarter
  • Dwayne Jarrett had career highs in catches (11) and yards (200) and continues to lead the nation in TD receptions (13)
  • It was great to see Steve Smith return to the endzone with 2 TD catches...this was only his second game with more than 1 TD catch (2005 Orange Bowl-3 TD catches)

  • The Trojans had 13 rushes of 10yds or more and 7 passes of 20yds are more....amazing stuff
  • The Trojans converted 10 out of 14 3rd down conversions and only punted twice
  • USC's offense has looked much better the last two games...very controlled and efficient. The return on the bubble screen (a Mike Williams favorite in 2002 & 2003) to Dwayne Jarrett and Patrick Turner is a welcome sight
  • Leinart seems to have regained his 2003 & 2004 form with another terrific outing. I know Matt is upset about the interception, but he has really picked up his play the last two weeks
  • I know the coaches are frustrated that the Trojans put the ball on the ground 3 times (Reggie, Jarrett, Booty/Matua) and that White juggled a ball while running. I expect ball security to be much improved this week
  • The Trojans are still struggling to execute the screen pass, a play which has been very successful in the past. I am sure the coaches are on top of this and will get it right
  • How about that Trojan defense! The Cougars came into this game averaging 40pts and 520 yards and USC held them to 13pts and 284yds.
  • The Cougs' previous lows were 21pts and 407 yds...the Trojans became the first team to hold WSU under 400yds and put the exclamation point on the performance by holding the Cougs under 300yds as well
  • The Cougars were only able to convert 2 out of 13 third down conversions....getting the defense off the field on 3rd down has been a problem this year for the Trojans so it was nice to see USC execute better on 3rd down
  • How is this for a home field advantage? USC is holding opponents to a 27.5% 3rd down conversion ratio at the Coliseum (11-40), but allowing a 46.7% conversion ratio on the road (35-75). Obviously the stat is impacted by a more difficult road schedule to date, but it is interesting nonetheless
  • It was disappointing to see Cougar RB Jerome Harrison break a couple of big runs, but he is a talented back and the Trojans did a nice job of minimizing the damage. I have full confidence in USC's ability to stop the run on a consistent basis
  • Harrison is only the 3rd RB in USC's last 42 games to rush for over 100yds
  • The Cougar's success at running came at the expense of their passing game. The Cougs only threw for 89 yards and the much maligned Trojan secondary held superstar WR Jason Hill to 6 catches for 49yds
  • Josh Pinkard is making huge strides a corner...he is a physical player with speed and great instincts. The Trojan secondary is starting to gel and should be much improved for the remainder of the season
  • Speaking of the seconday, how about the jarring hits from Justin Wyatt and Scott Ware! Nice to see the Trojans playing physical football in the secondary
  • Lawrence Jackson made a great play to strip Jerome Harrison and recover the fumble which led to a USC touchdown
  • Other than Jackson's play, the Trojan DL did not make many plays....recording zero sacks and only 2 tackles for loss....look for the DL to be more aggressive against the Cardinal
  • I would still like to see Reggie turn the ball more upfield on returns
  • Rey Maualaga bent his facemask during a vicious hit on a Cougar kickoff returner...Rey is a fast aggressive player that has a bright future for USC

Stanford Preview

  • Stanford is coming off a devastating loss to the Bruins....Stanford was up 24-3 with 8 minutes remaining and found a way to lose the game in overtime
  • Prior to the loss to UCLA, Stanford had posted 3 consecutive Pac 10 wins against WSU, Arizona and ASU
  • The Cardinal are a well-coached team that does not make many mistakes, having not committed a turnover in 4 games and leading the conference in turnover margin
  • Stanford's offense has been efficient this year, but not explosive. The Cardinal are ranked last in the conference in Passing Offense and Total Offense and 9th in rushing offense
  • It's hard to believe, but the Trojans average almost double the yards per game that Stanford produces (601 vs 310)
  • However, due to a lack of turnovers and good production in the redzone, Stanford is still averaging almost 28pts per game
  • Stanford's QB Trent Edwards is completing 64% of his passes for 12 TDs and only 2 interceptions
  • Stanford's leading receiver, Mark Bradford, was injured during the first quarter of the Bruin game and may not be able to go against the Trojans
  • The Cardinal also played UCLA with their leading rusher, Anthony Kimble...it is unclear if he is going to play on Saturday. Former nose guard (yes nose guard) Nick Frank, led Stanford's rushing attack last week against the Bruins with 13 carries for 61 yards
  • Stanford likes to execute the short passing game and will likely try to replicate Notre Dame's offensive strategy
  • Defensively, Stanford is ranked in the bottom third of the conference (#8 in pass D, #6 in rush D, #7 in scoring D and #6 in total D)
  • Stanford's defense is lead by nose tackle Babatunde Oshinowo...he will likely require a double team from the USC offensive line
  • USC really struggled against this Stanford team last year, falling behind by 11pts at halftime before rallying for a win in the second half....I expect the Trojans to play with urgency early in the game to set the tone
  • Offensively, I think the Trojans will continue with the same game plan we have seen against UW and WSU....short drops and bubble screens to set up the the down field throws
  • Reggie needs a big game to get back in the Heisman race...I hope he lets the game come to him and does not try and force the issue
  • Later in the game, I expect the Trojans to pound the running game
  • I hope the Trojans can get back on track in stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback. I expect the DL to play much better this week after getting an earful from Coaches Carroll and Franklin
  • Keith Rivers will likely sit this game out so look for increased reps for Colin Ashton and Brian Cushing
  • Dom Byrd is banged up (hip) and may not play.... I am still waiting for Fred Davis to have a breakout game. Fred did have a nice catch in run against the Cougs

I look forward to seeing everyone on Friday. Let's hope the Trojans can grind out another Pac 10 victory at the Coliseum.

Fight On!