Friday, September 22, 2006

On the Road Again....

The USC Trojans head back on the road this week with a trip to Tucson to face the Arizona Wildcats. Given how delayed the blog is this week, I am not going to spend a bunch of time talking about Nebraska, but here are a few of my observations:

  • The defense continues to be outstanding (although Nebraska looked like they were not even trying to score on offense). 10 first downs, 68 yds rushing (1.9/carry), 211 total yds and 10 pts is getting it done of defense
  • Keith Rivers is playing at a totally different level than last year...he has been spectacular in both games
  • Booty is very impressive...he made a couple of loose throws the first series of the second half, but his accuracy is among the best I have seen. As Curt and I have discussed, JDB does not put much air under the ball on deep throws...makes it more difficult for the receiver to react to the ball in the air and make a play. In a sub par effort, USC still gained 400yds and put up 28pts
  • If the Trojan receivers play this well all year, USC will be in good shape
  • Lawrence Jackson is seeing a ton of double teams....may not put up the big numbers he did last year (12 sacks). Very impressed with Fili Moala (75) and Chris Barrett (91) as they filled in for the injured Sedrick Ellis. How about Averell Spicer (99) just stuffing Nebraska on the goal line stand
  • The sack by Thomas Williams DID cause a fumble that should have resulted in a TD for Barrett.
  • Overall I thought the Trojans played well, but a bit sloppy. The game was never in doubt...remember Nebraska is a top 20 team and the likely winner of the Big 12 North. The Huskers may have the best front 7 USC faces this year

On to Arizona
  • Here is where the Wildcats have good/great talent: WR (Steptoe and Thomas), QB (Tuitama), Corner (Cason and Fontenot), Safety (Johnson) and DL (Holmes)
  • However, Arizona is weak at OL, LB and RB. Offensive line play has caused Arizona a lot of problems this year. They have not been able to run the ball effectively (less than 2 yds per carry against D-1 teams) and have not protected Tuitama
  • I think the Trojans DL and LBs match up very well here and can do some real damage
  • Last year, the Trojans struggled a bit with the UofA WRs...they are both short quick guys who have a knack for getting open deep. The play of Ellison and Mays will be critical in this game. Fortunately, I think the USC front 7 can control the running game without safety support
  • Tuitama is a strong armed, mobile qb...a great leader. He got banged up pretty good against LSU. He is completing just over 50% of his passes and has 3 ints vs 2 tds.
  • I think the Trojans' defense matches up pretty well against UofA. Expect the corners and safeties to play soft to avoid the big play....the Trojans front 7 will look to control the run and force Tuitama into some mistakes
  • Offensively, I think you will see USC try to establish the running game. I know the coaches were disappointed with the OL and RB effort against Nebraska so I expect them to come out with something to prove. Moody and Washington will get the bulk of the carries
  • Last year, Arizona played to keep everything in front of them. Not so sure they will do that this year...if they watched tape of the Arkansas game, it would not surprise me to see the Wildcat corners try and jam Jarrett and Smith at the line. Will be interesting to see if Booty can make them pay
  • I expect and hope to see Fred Davis more involved this week...good bet that Stanley Havili (new starting FB and true frosh) catches at least 1 pass
  • In closing, thanks to everyone who helped with the tailgate last week. We appreciate everyone's effort and look forward to seeing you in 2 weeks against UW.

I know that several of you are going to the game this week in Tucson...hope to see you there. Let's hope the Trojans can grind out another victory on the road

Fight On!


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