Monday, September 11, 2006

Fresh Start

Football season has finally arrived and the USC Trojans are looking for a fresh start. The Trojans lost several key players from the teams that went an amazing 37-2 the last three years. There are several question marks for the 2006 Trojans, but based on what I saw in Arkansas, the Trojans are talented, deep and hungry. Reloaded and ready to go.

Couple of quick house keeping items before we discuss the Arkansas and Nebraska games:


  • GameDay will be making its 4th appearance at the Coliseum for the huge game against Nebraska. GameDay starts 30 minutes earlier this year, with the live broadcast beginning at 7am. This will be 6th time the tailgate crew has been at the GameDay set (4 at home plus 2003 Rose Bowl and 2005 Notre Dame) and so far the Trojans are undefeated.
  • We will be arriving very early to have the full tailgate set up before GameDay starts. We hope to see you on the set, but you are of course welcome to watch it on TV at the tailgate.


  • As we embark on another season of Trojan football and tailgating, please feel free to send Andy or I any suggestions or comments...always looking to improve
  • Our plan is to set up in the same spot (Menlo & Leighton) and serve breakfast (probably until 10am) and lunch around 1pm. Full menu for breakfast including eggs, pancakes, breakfast burittos and bagels. Lunch will be the Hoover specialty---fried Turkey. We will have some burgers as well.
  • Please email me if you are planning on attending...include total number in your group.

Arkansas Review

  • Several of us (Flynn, Hoovers, Dan & Carolyn, Matt & Eva, Marcus and AT) made the trip to Fayetteville. While in Arkansas, we ran into the Watkins and Phil Navarro and Dave McCleod as well.
  • It was one of the great trips I have taken. I can't say enough about how nice and welcoming the Hog fans were. They let us park at their business, gave us (and our Trojan gear) a ride to the tailgate spot and invited us to set up amongst the Hogs...they even interviewed us on TV! (see below)


This is where we parked...classic name!

Andy and Marcus getting a ride from a guy named "Hogapooloza"

Liz showing off our tailgate spot in the middle of Hogville...notice the SC flags right in the middle!


Channel 5 in Fayetteville




  • I was very impressed with the Trojans' effort in Arkansas...there were a lot of questions coming into this game and Pete had the kids focused and ready to play
  • The offensive line looks outstanding and will be the key to the Trojans' success on offense all year
  • Booty was composed, accurate and a leader on the field. I was very pleased to see the ball get spread around more so than last year.
  • Fred Davis looked like an All-American and it is so nice to see the quarterback looking for the TE again...it just seemed that we got away from that last year

  • The frosh RBs were extremely impressive in my opinion....they ran hard, had no fumbles and did a decent job picking up the blitz (Booty only sacked once). I thought Chauncey was a bit more impressive than the frosh, but with his hammy, I think it may be a while before he is 100%
  • Jarrett had an off day (and got ripped by Kiffen in the press), but Steve Smith played like he had something to prove...with these 2 guys and Turner we have a great set of WRs. Nice to see Turner involved in the offense
  • Ryan Powdrell looks like a real weapon at FB....very tough to tackle in short yardage and a very capable receiver out of the backfield. I love that defenses need to worry about Powdrell and Davis....just going to make DJ and SS look that much better
  • The defense was solid and did what Pete asks them to do....GET THE BALL! Five turnovers is outstanding
  • LJ looked a bit slow coming off his injury, but I was impressed with Ellis and Moala. Barrett looked pretty good as well
  • Cushing looks like a different player than last year...he is going to have a huge year. I think Rivers made a big leap as well....this may be the year we see #55 play like the #55's of the past
  • Corners were outstanding...I think we have 3 real good ones in Cary Harris, Kevin Thomas (Quito) and Terrell Thomas....lets hope Quito's ankle does not hold him out for Nebraska
  • Losing Josh Pinkard is devastating for the Trojans...Pete had called him "the best player on the team" several times in fall camp. True frosh Taylor Mays (#29) will take over as the starter
  • This was a great win for the Trojans and it felt great to be in the stands for another Trojan victory. By the way, in the third quarter during a time out, the Trojan faithful had one of the loudest "WE ARE.....SC" cheers I have ever heard on the road. The players took notice and joined it. Congrats to the fans who made this trip...the Trojans deserve our support


On to Nebraska

  • Nebraska is an improved football team with the ability to do some damage to the Trojans. It is a bit hard to tell where the Huskers stand because they have played 2 complete patsies so far this year
  • Offensively, the feature an experienced QB (Zac Taylor #12) who likes to throw underneath to both the WRs and the TE....think Cal game in 2004. The Trojans have struggled with this type of approach in the past
  • I don't think the Husker OL is dominant...it is solid and serviceable, but not the Husker OL of the 90s. The WRs are solid, but not spectacular...TE is the leading receiver. The big play receiver is Maurice Purify (#16)
  • At RB, the Huskers look a lot like USC...they have 4 RBs who will carry the ball, lead by former USC recruit Marlon Lucky (#20)
  • Defensively, Nebraska has an outstanding front 4 led by Jay Moore (#44) and Adam Carriker(#90). These guys are legit defense ends that can wreak havoc in the backfield. The Nebraska LBs are very solid and fast...much like the Trojans
  • In the secondary Nebraska has some issues. They have lost both starting corners to injury and are extremely inexperienced and thin at this spot. The corners are small as well
  • I think Nebraska will try and follow the Cal 2004 game plan...dink and dunk the ball down the field using the TE extensively. If Sed Ellis is unable to go for the Trojans (hurt his knee in practice on Monday), look for Nebraska to test the middle of the USC DL with some power running. Nebraska will probably run some no huddle offense as well
  • You might see Nebraska test the inexperienced Trojan safeties with some deep balls to Purify and some seam routes to the TE
  • The Trojans will counter by punishing receivers who catch the ball underneath and trying to force turnovers. I expect a big game from Lawrence Jackson on Saturday...I think we will get some pressure on the QB
  • Offensively, I think the Trojans will open it up a bit early. Nebraska is vulnerable in the secondary and the coaches are confident in JDB. We will still have good run/pass balance, but you may see some more down the field passes
  • We may see the return of the WR bubble screen...particularly if the young Husker corners try and give the Trojan WR some cushion. If the Husker DBs try and bump at the line...look for some big plays from DJ, SS and Turner

The Coliseum is going to be electric for the home opener with GameDay. The Huskers will likely bring 15k-20k fans as well....can't wait! Let's hope the Trojans can grind out another victory at home.

Fight On!


1 Comments:

At September 12, 2006 at 5:17 PM, Blogger Fan said...

Hey i wanted to attend the tailgate this weekend at USC vs Nebraska. Just wonder how i go about that thanks... blaineasmith@gmail.com

 

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