The Skinny on SC Sports, an insightful newsletter with quick hits, insider info, and brief analysis that is always spot on, is going to be writing routine posts on TrojanWire.
The Skinny’s heard from a very good source the NCAA is still about 9 to 12 months away from any type of announcement regarding USC.
After the jump find out why the Skinny thinks SC could be playing in the National Title game.
*The upgraded coaching staff: I don’t think it will take long to notice that Coach Carroll has assembled the best staff since USC won its last national championship. He has added experience in positions where it was needed and has a staff that is hungry, focused and humble. Cocky and arrogant coaches have been replaced by confident leaders.
Offensively, the addition of Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks coach (i.e. play-caller) Jeremy Bates has already paid positive dividends with the young quarterbacks and his NFL experience calling plays will give the player’s the confidence in tough situations that has been lacking since Chow departed. Carroll will still strongly figure into the mix of play calling but Bates will present more options and opportunities than Carroll has been used to the past few years.
Defensively, the promotion of Rocky Seto to Defensive Coordinator is a great move. He is a true student of the defensive game (especially under Carroll) and is one of the best teachers of technique. The players truly respect Coach Seto due to his humble attitude and relentless work ethic. He is not perceived as a yeller with no substance which was the perception the players had of some of the coaches the past few years.
Defensive Line Coach Jethro Franklin is a great addition. The defensive line responded well to him this spring and I expect this group to be one of the strongest in the nation with Everson Griffen becoming one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the country.
*The Offensive Line: The offensive line is loaded. A quick look at the two deep and you can see why SC might run a platoon system and just wear down teams late into games. This is the best offensive line and offensive line depth that USC has had in the Carroll era. With USC’s depth a running back, this is a great time to break in a new QB and still have a solid offense.
*The Secondary: The secondary is loaded and should allow SC to match-up 1-1 on opposing WR’s and give Taylor Mays and the linebacking core a chance to make tons of plays. It will be fun to see Taylor Mays roll up and blitz or shadow a running QB/Athlete like Tyrelle Pryor. It gives USC a huge defensive advantage.
*Team Speed: The fastest team Coach Carroll has had at USC.
*The schedule is brutal and SC is breaking in a new QB so many are expecting SC to struggle. . .but isn’t that when Carroll is at his best?
Positions to watch:
*Linebacking Unit: This group is fast and smart. The fastest Coach Carroll has had. Coach Seto thinks we will not see much drop off from last year despite the major losses to the NFL. Unfortunately the losses have continued this offseason with top freshman recruit Telfort unfortunately being diagnosed with a heart problem and Luther Brown probably lost due to academic issues. Depth is a major concern. Anymore losses and they may have to start looking at players from other positions. I know Alan Bradford wants to stay at RB but this could be a great chance to get on the field and show what a great football player he is. Also, what about Taylor Mays playing a few downs a game at Linebacker? At his size, he could very well be playing that position on Sunday’s. . .
*Wide Receiver: SC desperately needs a #2 WR to step up and become a big target for Corp or Barkley. It would also help for a third big play WR to develop and become a worry for a defense whenever he is on the field. . .
If Jordan Cameron can grasp the offense, look for him to be a big target in red zone situations. He is one of the best athletes on the team and stands in at 6’4.