The game tomorrow will only be close if USC cannot handle the Bruins running game.  This reporter believes this is not a factor.  The Trojan’s defense has been playing extremely well that past few weeks and to hold an incredible Oregon offense to 35 points was next  a miracle.  Many pre-game analysts mentioned the 35 point goal for USC to win and that happened.

The Bruin secondary and the rest of the defense will not be able to stop Matt Barkley and friends. They will dink and dunk there was down the field and take that occasional shot down the field to Marqise Lee.  The USC offensive line is also coming into its own and this will no doubt be the last game for Matt Kalil who will be fired up the pancake as many Bruins as possible to lead the O line to another large rushing number.

Rick Neuheisel, the embattled UCLA  head coach, has stated the gap has closed with USC in the recruiting wars.  Sometimes someone comes out and says something completely out of the blue with no backup for what they have said.  Mr. Neuheisel is one of those characters.  UCLA has not recruited successfully a five-star recruit in the past 3 years, so you wonder what island he is on?

Not to beat around the bush, USC will completely dominate the game on their home turf and will win going away.  Matt Barkley will announce he is coming back for his senior year and all will be well once again with the Trojans and 2012 will be a year to get even with a lot of people who have come out to say the Trojans are not relevant anymore.   In the recruiting wars, USC will be looking for some student athletes to enroll in the Spring as they do not count against our 15 scholarship limit for each of the next three years.

Final Score tomorrow night: USC 42 UCLA 14

Fans,

After reviewing the tape of the game on Monday, I have come to the conclusion that Oregon over looked USC after the last two years of blowout wins.  They were arrogant and certainly unprepared for Marqise Lee and I have to hand it to Lane Kiffin for being a little bit sleight of hand convincing Chip Kelley to think Robert Woods was 100% and would be the highlight.  Lee blew their doors off.  Woods was a bit of a factor, but nothing like what Marqise did to them over the top, underneath, out of the backfield, etc.  This kid is the real deal and if he can continue to play and not read his press clippings, we have the makings of another Mike Williams and a Heisman Candidate in a couple of years.  Robert Woods was pretty amazing in the his freshman year, but Lee is simply an amazing athlete you only see come by a few times in your life.

As for the game, you could not have scripted a more exciting and shocking game if you wrote it.  The Ducks were clearly not expecting USC to run the ball as well as they did.  They did not pick up what USC was doing at all.  By the time the Ducks realized the situation and started making adjustments, the Trojans were ahead by 24 points and they made a desperate charge to pull within 3 points.  The final play that took literally 5 minutes to happen was typical of the slugfest that occurred in the four quarters that preceded it.  At the end the two teams exchanged hugs and congratulatory hand shakes as two fighters who gave it all and the final bell clanged at the end of the 15th round.  This reporter watched in amazement as this played out all over the field.  It was a great moment in time and people will talk of this game and the lore that it represented for years and years. 

As a result of the outcome of the game, USC was elevated to #10 in the nation one spot below Oregon, who they just finished upsetting!  All this reporter can say is wait till next year.  We literally no one graduating that cannot be replaced other than Matt Kalil and Matt Barkley who are not graduating but may leave for the NFL.  If both come back or at least Matt, watch out, the Trojans could run away with this thing. 

One more game remains on the Trojans schedule…the UCLA Bruins.  A bitter cross town rivalry will be played out on the Coliseum turf this Saturday night.  More later….Coach Roy out!

 

Football Fans,

The Trojans of USC have to play a perfect game at Autsen Stadium tomorrow night in order to have a chance to upset the #4 ranked Oregon Ducks.  Oregon boasts one of the most explosive offenses I have ever seen and the Trojan defense will have to play over it’s head to stop this freight train.  One method that was used by LSU,  in Oregon’s the only loss of the season, was to ask the officials not to put the ball down for play until the defense is set.  This slowed down the Ducks and gave the LSU defense time to rest as well and make substitutions.  USC will be using a buddy system tomorrow night where they will not even check with a coach to substitute on defense.  If it gets out of hand, it will appear like a mess and could catch the Trojans with not enough or too many players on the field.  We will see how it works out in the first quarter.  The defense will have to play a very disciplined game and not allow themselves to stay blocked.  Every gap must be militantly covered.

On offense, Robert Woods has all but said he will play tomorrow night, but it will be another game where the timing between Woods and Matt Barkley will be off since Woods did not practice this week. He mostly held a clipboard and cheered his replacement or scolded them.  Look for USC to use Marqise Lee more like Woods.  If Robert plays, my guess is he will be a decoy.   USC must score a lot of points and field goals, unless at the end of the game, will not win this one.  Oregon has an astounding percentage of “Red Zone” success and you simply have to keep up with them or keep the ball away from them.

The USC Defense is coming together at the right moment of the season to handle the Ducks. If this were first two or three game of the season…the Ducks would beat USC by 30.  Now that the maturation process has taken place and only if USC is not intimidated by the crowd does USC have a chance to win.

This is hard to write, but this reporter (a Trojan through and through) sees this as a loss for the Trojans.  The only prayer is Oregon turns the ball over at least three times and USC scores a touchdown on each.  The other issue will be if the Trojans can control the ball on the ground and keep Oregon off the field forcing them into mistakes and turnovers out of desperation.  I am not going to predict a score this week as it hurts to write such things.  Another key is for the Trojans not lose their cool and cause stupid penalties to “set the tone” as Matt Kalil said last week against Washington.  This is just plain dumb.  You never know if that one penalty killed a drive that would have won the game.  Penalties show lack of discipline and execution.  In a game like this, you cannot afford to lose valuable yardage.  Let’s look for a penalty free game or make it a goal.

Never the less, tomorrow night’s game makes for good press, excitement and anxious moments as we anticipate the game and it’s outcome.

Coach Roy Out

 

 

 

Football Fans,
As I predicted the game was a total rout! The odds makers had USC winning by
12 1/2 by game time. What these fellows do not realize is that there is always a factor that is not seen by them. This is a maturation process that has happened to the Trojans since the start of the season. What started slowly was a group of mostly under class men who had not played a football game together has matured into a finally tuned machine with so many weapons. Like few teams, USC has fought through adversity of the sanctions, injuries, suspensions and the like. They have now played 10 game together and know each other better. The coaches know who can play and who cannot and at what level after hours of film sessions. Some new players have supplanted veterans due to their superior physical and mental skills and ability to learn on the fly.

The Washington game turned on a fake punt, a total surprise to 9 Huskies who had turned their backs to the play and headed down field. You could almost sense the USC Punter, Kyle Negrete’s astonishment that there was a lot of open field in front of him and the two contain men were blocked, so off he went. It was a game changing event for a player who wears the date of the death of his mother on his arm each game…5/17/02. She succumbed to Breast Cancer on that day. He inscribes the date on his forearm before each game with a Sharpie. I am sure she watched with pride as he rambled 35 yards and ran over one Huskie!

The super star of the day was not Robert Woods nor Matt Barkley, but a much maligned group of offensive lineman that put aside the Huskies defense to the tune of 252 yards rushing on 40 attempts including Curtis McNeal’s 79 yard scamper. Here’s one for the gipper, O Line: Matt Kalil, John Martinez, Kevin Graf, Khaled Holmes, and Marcus Martin. The Tight Ends of Xavier Gimble and Randall Telfer contributed greatly as well as Fullback Rhett Ellison. The wide receivers, especially freshman Marqise Lee, who put the final block to spring McNeal on is long run. It was a total team effort on the O, but it all started with the line.

The defense has been a work in progress and has settled on the right combination at linebacker with our trio of freshmen that will mature each game and have 3 more years in front of them! Chris Galippo has been sent to the bench and special teams as Lamar Dawson has supplanted him. Tire Madden is learning fast filling in for Dion Bailey, who has returned from his concussion. Chris was seen by this reporter and others as being out of position, not anticipating well and his poor tackling skills and lacking of wrapping up were evident in countless games and cause for his demotion. His enthusiasm and leadership will add to the special teams. The secondary lead by TJ “Hit-man” McDonald is a thing of beauty now with Michell Robey, Tony Burnett and Jawanza Starling adding improvement and stability to the secondary. The real test is coming! The D Line and friends had a tremendous game with 7 sacks. What a group lead by Nick Perry. Wes Horton, Chris Tupou, and George Uko filling in for DaJohn Harris. Watch out DaJohn…job in jeopardy – talk to Galippo!

One question I have for Lane Kiffin is why he did not take Matt Barkley out in the 4th quarter and let Jesse Scroggins or John Manoogian play some? Come on Lance, you had them by 30! Have a heart!

Look for my preview of Oregon later this week.
Coach Roy Out!

Fans,

This week’s game will be a lot different than last year when Jake Locker tore up the Trojans and led a last second victory for the second year in a row.  The Huskies are a different team.  Their defense is allowing 33 points per game and is ranked 102nd in the nation.  USC and their high powered passing attack will be be all over them with short, medium and long range passes.  The strength of the Huskies lies in their running game led by Chris Polk who has already rusned for 1,097 yards for a 5.3 yards per carry average and has scored 9 rushing touchdowns and another 3 in the air.  He is clearly the man to stop.  The Huskies have a new QB, Keith Price who has thrown for over 2000 yards and 25 touchdowns.  He spreads the ball around but his favortie target is Jermaine Kearse 6 touchdowns in his 34 receptions.   Washington has a fairly young offensive line with only one senior, Senio Kelemete | 6-4, 289, Sr.) who plays tackle.  The rest are either sophomores or freshman, except the center, Drew Schaefer | 6-4, 281, Jr.).  The other alarming thing about the Huskies is they are allowing 283 yards passing, which is dead last in the conference.  This should be another field day for Matt Barkley and company.  If the Trojans can keep Polk grounded, Price is known for throwing it up with 10 picks so far this year.  The Huskies are penalized a lot more than the Trojans as well.  This is a huge improvement for the Trojans from last year when the led the conference in penalties, I believe.

All in all with our team improving tremendously on defense and our new fab threesome at linebackers, we should have a good homecoming game at the Coliseum.  They will need to sound the air raid sirens…this one promises to be an aerial circus for the Trojans.

My prediction: USC 38 Washington 13

Tonight the Trojans of USC go to battle with the lowly Colorado Buffaloes (1-8).  The weather will be more of a factor than the Buffs.  The Buffs are all banged up with their number one receiver, Paul Richardson, has been our and might play tonight.  Here is more on the Buffaloes.  Richardson has missed the past four games due to injury, but still leads the team with 29 catches for 474 yards and five touchdowns. He began practicing last week and is expected to play against the Trojans.

Running back Rodney Stewart leads the Buffaloes with 473 rushing yards and ranks second behind Richardson with 28 catches for 435 yards despite missing the last two games with a knee injury. He returned to practice Monday and said he hopes to be fully healthy by Friday.

Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen is also expected to return to the starting lineup after sitting out the start of the 48-14 loss to Arizona State Saturday following a concussion hesuffered the previous week against Oregon. Hansen was 22-for-35 for 285 yards and a touchdown along with two interceptions against the Sun Devils after replacing freshman Nick Hirschman, who was 4-for-7 for 52 yards.

Colorado’s defense is extremely porous as they have allowed over 500 yards of total offense in recent games.  The only thing this reporter worries about with Colorado is the weather which expects to be in the 20’s by game time.  Look for a big game from the Trojans if they do not freeze to death.  Look for a large offensive number from the Trojans and Matt Barkley to Robert Woods and friends!

Prediction: USC 52 Colorado 10

 

Football Fans,

It has taken me a few days to recover from the three overtime game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal.  I watched the tape again yesterday.  Even though the Trojans lost the game, there were many obvious things that happened.  USC, playing with mostly underclassmen was not overwhelmed by Stanford.  This testifies to the fact that USC has a bumper crop of younger players who can play with anyone.  What the Trojans lack is depth.  That was very evident in overtime when Dion Bailey went out with a concussion after the first overtime.  it did not take Stanford QB Andrew Luck long to find Bailey’s replacement, Tire Madden (FR).  He was clearly over matched by anyone Stanford put out there and successfully beat him in the second overtime and the two point conversion.

The rest of the game attests to the fact that if you do not practice, you will most likely not play well. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods were not on the same page on many plays or their timing was way off.  Barkley has had trouble hitting or leading correctly, many wide open receivers like Marqise Lee in the second quarter who had easily beaten his defender and should have been an easy touchdown, instead fell incomplete with Lee diving for the ball.  By the end of the game, Woods and Barkley were finally getting their timing down.  It took that long.  This reporter was pleased to also see the long awaited debut of Kyle Prater (#21, 6’5″ 210lb RS Freshman).  He is an imposing target and let’s hope he can spell Woods or anyone else the rest of the way down the stretch with Washington, Oregon and UCLA directly in front of us.  These are critical games for recruiting in the off season since USC does not have a post season.

Final notes on the Stanford game is that the USC defense was severely tested and gave up 516 yards of total offense including overtime.  With that kind of number, you will not win many games. Granted this was against one heck of a QB and offense, SC must play much better defense to win against Washington and Oregon.  I have not mentioned Colorado as their team is a on the same level as Cal and Oregon St.  I would say the odds makers are underrating the spread of 21 points. Barring any come down from the hangover of the Stanford game, USC should cover that spread by another 10+ points.  I will preview the Buffaloes later this week.

Coach out

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