Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pac 10 Road Opener

The Trojans have had several close games with the Cougs in Pullman, but it is a different story in the Coliseum. The Trojans delivered another beatdown to WSU with a dominating 47-14 victory. The Cougs made some plays, but the Trojans seemed in complete control throughout the game.

We had a great time at the tailgate and the game. Thanks to those who showed up early to set up (Dan, Michael, Kimberly, Andy), who brought and cooked the food (Kimberly, Jennifer) and who supplied the drinks (AT). Can't beat spending a day at the Coliseum with your friends and then watching the Trojans dominate at night. We were well prepared for the intermittent rain squalls and were able to enjoy some great games on the new tailgate TV.

A few of the players stopped by after the is what we told them about their performance

"PT...way to rebound from the Nebraska game"

"Lojack...that is two games in a row with a sack on the first series!"

"Sam...sure is nice to watch JDB throw the ball with all that time"

USC Offense vs UW Defense

  • By way of background, the Huskies are ranked 2nd in pass defense, 9th in rushing defense, 6th in scoring defense and 7th in total defense in the conference

  • Ohio St and UCLA ran all over the Huskies for 263 and 333 yards respectively....over 6 yards per carry. The Buckeyes and Bruins also racked up 481 and 537 total yards and 33 and 44 points, respectively

  • I think Sark has done a terrific job with the offense this season. Against Nebraska the Trojans dominate with run and against WSU, the Trojans destroy the Cougs through the air. There seems to be much more method to the madness and the willingness to take what is there as opposed to trying to take what you want

  • Last week I wrote that Sark would have a new wrinkle against the Cougs....Fred Davis. He will have something else this week. Maybe a couple of packages for McKnight?

  • Given the performance of the Trojan offense the last 2 games it will be interesting to see how UW attacks the Trojan offense. Best bet is UW commits to stopping the run, but plays their corners much tighter the WSU did. Have to believe UW wants to take away the short pass to the WR

  • I think this plays into the Trojans' game plan. USC is last in the conference in yards per completion...I know that Sark wants to establish the deep ball. I expect USC to take some early shots deep

  • UW has a nice pair of defensive ends in Te'o Neshieim and Gunheim, but against Boise St, Ohio St and UCLA, the Husky D managed only 3 sacks...the Trojan OL should be able to give Booty some time. When Booty has time, he can be dangerous

  • If UW elects to blitz, look for the Trojans to turn to the screen game. The screen game has been a focus in practice, but has not been used much in games (no real pressure on Booty yet)

  • USC will use the running game to wear down the Husky D...expect the run game to open up in the second half after limited success in the first half

  • The Huskies will likely focus their attention on Fred Davis....that should really open up Havilli. Very hard to cover both the FB and the TE effectively

  • USC has 5 different ball carriers with runs over 20 yards...that is amazing

  • A key stat that I like to focus on as a predictor of success is 3rd down conversions. The Trojans enjoy a large statistical advantage here, converting 55% of their opportunities on offense (4th nationally) while the Huskies are allowing 41% conversions on defense
    • USC Defense vs UW Offense

      • By way of background, the Huskies are ranked 10th in pass offense, 5th in rushing offense, 9th in scoring offense and 10th in total offense in the conference

      • Don't be fooled, this will be a very good test for the USC defense. The one area the Trojans have struggled with under Pete Carroll is defending the mobile quarterback. Well, the Huskies have a really good mobile quarterback in Jake Locker

      • Locker leads the Huskies in rushing and is 5th in the conference in that category...pretty amazing for a RS freshman QB

      • Locker has struggled a bit throwing the ball. He is completing 53% of his passes and has thrown 6 interceptions

      • I think the Trojans will shut down the "traditional running game", but there is no doubt that Locker will make some plays with his feet

      • Containment will be critical....the Trojan DEs looked much better containing the edge against Nebraska and WSU, so I am optimistic

      • USC will be starting Thomas Williams at SLB. Cushing is hurt and Matthews is banged as well. The play of TWill is important. The Trojan LBs can't afford to get out of position and miss tackles on Locker

      • Locker does not slide much so there is the opportunity to put some big hits on the talented QB. Rey has looked MUCH better this year...this may be a break out game for him

      • I think the Trojan safeties and corners will play pretty conservative...with this I mean, they are not going to get sucked in by Locker's running threat and let a ball go over their head. Much better to give up 10 yards on the ground to Locker

      • It will be interesting to watch the Trojans take on this challenge

      Other Notes

      • Huge game this week between Cal and Oregon. Should be a high scoring, exciting game. I think Cal has the better team, but Oregon seems to be really hot right now. I like Oregon in a close game scoring in the 30s or 40s

      • Bruins travel north to take on the Beavers. Big game for both squads. This could be a low scoring game unless turnovers get out of control. Both teams want to run the ball and both teams stop the run well. Big edge to UCLA at QB (Beavs have thrown 13 picks in 4 games!). If the Bruins can pull this out, they are set up for a nice year. I think they probably win

      • Cougs play the Wildcats. If Arizona loses this game, they may just tank the season. Stoops is desperate. Should be a good one

      • Irish take on Purdue. Purdue is explosive on offense and I just don't see how ND can keep pace. ND will run the ball well, but probably lose

      I think this could be a close game at halftime...would not surpirse me. Road games in the Pac 10 are never easy...just think back to last year. Lets hope the Trojans can grind out another victory on the road.

      Fight On!


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