Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cougs visit the Coliseum

Before we talk about the Cougs, I just wanted to touch on the Nebraska game last week. We had an absolute blast in Lincoln...great college town with some of the best fans around. The Trojans played great in my opinion and really made a statement. It was so loud on the first play from scrimmage...then Havili breaks through for 50 yds. Big statement win for the Trojans. I will say this...I don't think Nebraska is as good as people think. Probably were better last year. I hope Nebraska wins out...those fans deserve a good team.

I don't want to dwell on the game. The Trojans flat out dominated. Here are a couple of tidbits and some sweet pics from the game and our trip. Thanks to Dan, Carolyn, Andy and Liz for the photography. Action pics courtesy of USC (thanks Ryan).

Nebraska Quick Takes

  • This is the best the Trojans have run the ball since the UCLA game in 2005. The holes were absolutely ridiculous...see below

  • O'Dowd did a great job at center, but Byers and Baker are the stars on the OL. Truth be told, I think the misdirection and motion caused the Huskers more problem than the OL did
  • I thought Sark called an awesome game...very optimistic about the offense this year with that style of play calling
  • Equally important, the Trojan DL played a great game. Sed Ellis is absolutely dominant. I think he played so well because he got to meet Liz and Carolyn at the Friday walk through.

    Friday--Sed's dream come true

    Saturday-Sed dominates to show off for his new lady friends

  • The Nebraska fans are loud and proud. GameDay was pretty amazing...13,500 people there. We were there, but far from the action. We had the Trojan colors flying high

  • Despite our preference for Cardinal & Gold over the Big Red, we did make some friends in Lincoln

    Sam Keller's girlfriend

Enough about Nebraska...on to the Cougs

General Comments about the Game

  • This was a very close game last year in Pullman...28-22 Trojans. Cougs had the ball on the USC 39 with a chance to win
  • The Trojans played WSU last year without Dwayne Jarrett and Sedrick Ellis. In addition, Chris McFoy got hurt in the second quarter and did not return. USC played the second half with only 1 of its top 3 WRs
  • Obvioulsy Jarrett is gone, but Sedrick is back. He is a differnece maker (ask Nebraska). Someone should text Sed and tell him Liz and Carolyn will be there...should guarantee a big game from #49
  • The Cougs have a very good offense, particularly at QB and WR
  • The Trojans better not have a let down after the big win in Lincoln...hopefully the Coliseum crowd gets USC going early

USC Offense vs Coug Defense

  • Cougs have given up an average of 407 yds and 29 points in 3 games (Wisconsin, Idaho, San Diego St.)
  • Only 5 starters return from the Coug defense that faced the Trojans in Pullman...USC returns 8 offensive starters from that game. Key loses are Ryan Kalil and Steve Smith...the Radovich for Kyle Williams trade may be an upgrade
  • I like this match up for the Trojans. After watching tape of the Nebraska game, I am sure the Cougs will be geared up to stop the run....look for the Trojans to come out passing
  • I think the Trojans are going to try and get the passing game going in this game...the Cougs have been particularly weak against the pass
  • I expect a few new wrinkles from Sark...I just have the feeling he is going to introduce something new each week. I definitely expect Hazelton to re-emerge in the offense. The are going to force feed Turner as well...the Trojans need Patrick to be a go-to guy
  • The Coug's have really struggled on 3rd down defense, allowing opponents to convert 54.4% of time (ranked 114th nationally). The Trojans are ranked 22nd nationally in converting 3rd downs. If the Cougs can't get off the field on 3rd down, it will be a long night
  • Chauncey is starting at RB, but I think CW, Gable and Stafon will get a similar number of carries
  • USC put up 28 points and 418 yards in Pullman last year...lets hope the Trojans can exceed that tomorrow...I think they will

USC Defense vs Coug Offense

  • The Cougs have a very solid quarterback in Alex Brink. He is a fifth year senior and a very accurate passer. Brink is completing 74% of his passes with 10 TDs and 2 INTs
  • Brink is also a sneaky runner...he can escape the rush and do some damage
  • Brink is helped by a nice WR group. Bumpus (#5) is a former USC commit and a solid player. Also a dangerous punt returner. In addition to Bumpus the Cougs have Dillon (#2) and Gibson (#4)
  • I would describe the WR group as "crafty"..not super fast (but quick) and certainly not big. This group gets it done...including over the middle
  • Expect to see Brink focus on the short passing game...this is what USC gives and what WSU likes to take. Brink will use 3 step drops extensively, making it difficult for the Trojans to apply pressure
  • WSU will look to Dwight Tardy at RB. He had a nice game against the Trojans last year, rushing for 62 yards on 11 carries
  • Look for WSU to use some misdirection and screens to try and get Rey out of position. Worked for the Cougs last year. I think Rey is improving, but this will be a good test
  • I think USC will shut down the WSU run. The Cougs averaged 4.7 yds per carry last year, but Sedrick Ellis will have something to say about that this year. Also, this was Taylor Mays' second game as a true frosh starter last year...The Trojans played very conservatively with the safeties...not so much this year
  • SC returns 9 starters on defense from the game in Pullman last year. This year the Trojans have Sed Ellis vs Chris Barrett...nice upgrade. Also have Kyle Moore vs Dallas Sartz...could be a push. Cougs get back 6 starters, but loose 3 OL
  • Cougs will put up yards on the Trojans tomorrow, but I think points will be difficult. Cougs are averaging 37pts per game so far, but only scored 21 vs Wisconsin
  • If the Cougs try and make this a shootout, it could get ugly. However if WSU tries to dink and dunk down the field, avoids turnovers and penalties...this could be a close game in the 4th quarter

In other Pac 10 news, I think the UCLA game tomorrow is critical for the Bruins. They have some injuries (Harwell, Dragovic, Olsen, Tevaga) and are reeling from an inexcusable loss to Utah. If the Bruins lose this game at home to a good UW team, it may be tough to rebound

This is a good test for the Trojans....facing an experienced Pac 10 QB is never easy, particularly when that QB has talented WR. However, facing the Trojans in the Coliseum is no walk in the park. I expect another great game from the Trojans. Hope you can make it to the tailgate and the game.

Fight On!


At September 21, 2007 at 3:30 PM, Blogger JHermann said...

Nice work Flynn! Good analysis. Tomorrow will be another beat down.

USC 49
WSU 17


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