The Skinny: Scary Movie Part IV: Where The Rubber Meets The Road

The Trojans have survived tough road environments this year at Ohio State, Cal and Notre Dame. However, the biggest test of the year will be Saturday night at the toughest place to play in the Pac-10, Auzten Stadium, where the Trojans will battle the 10th ranked Oregon Ducks.

The Trojans will have to survive a real house of hunts with a raucous Halloween night crowd, rain and wind in the 1st half and an Oregon team that is operating at the top of its game.

The fourth ranked Trojans have not left the state of Oregon with a victory since 2005 and will have to play together and disciplined in all phases of the game to for them to leave with a victory.

5 things to keep track of plus the obvious:

1- USC’s Defensive Line vs. Oregon’s Offensive Line: Oregon’s offensive line is fairly inexperienced and has yet to play a top tier defensive line. The Trojans must get penetration early and break-up Oregon’s offensive rhythm. The key to stopping any spread attack is linebackers being able to stay home and cause havoc on the short passing game and mis-directional running plays.

The emergence of the spread offense has led defensive coaches to really focus on it in the offseason and will see if that hard work pays off on Saturday.

2- Force Oregon into obvious passing situations: The Oregon offense is very potent when they are running the ball 2/3 of the time and not forced into throwing situations longer than 10 yards. Oregon only averages 157 yards passing a game. The hurry up aspect of Oregon’s offense is based on a solid running game where they like to hand it off or throw a pass behind the line of scrimmage 85% of the time.

Oregon prefers to throw the ball less than 20 times and Masoli is a weak mid to deep thrower under pressure. Evidence of that was clear in USC’s 44-10 victory over Oregon in the Coliseum last year.

Oregon tailback LaMichael James might be the second best back in the conference behind Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rogers. He is a great cut-back runner and has the ability to make a big gain at the blink of an eye. Containing James will be the key to forcing Oregon into 3rd and long situations.

(More of what to look for after the jump)


3- Trojans will attack Oregon’s young secondary- Look for the Trojans to go after Oregon’s secondary early in the game, specifically Freshman Cornerback Cliff Harris and fellow Freshman Safety John Boyett. The Trojans will want to see if these guys can hang with Ronald Johnson and Damian Williams.

4- Don’t forget about the Tight End!- Though All-American candidate Anthony McCoy is unable to play, the Trojans still need to have steady involvement from the tight end position for the offense to operate to its full capabilities. Rhett Ellison and Blake Ayles need to be utilized and involved early. Without Tight End involvement, the Trojan offense will struggle.

5- Special Teams: In a hostile environment where the stadium feels like it is shaking, solid special teams play will be a major key to the game and lead to huge momentum shifts. The Trojans need to convert field goals, snap well and cover Oregon’s dangerous punt returner. The kick return team gets a boost with Ronald Johnson returning kicks this week. The Trojans will have a very difficult time winning this game without a good performance from the special team’s unit.

The obvious: Avoid 15 yard penalties and turnovers: The Trojans will have an extremely difficult time winning this game if they lose the turnover battle. This is the best team they will play all year.

The Trojans match up well with Oregon and under Coach Carroll they seem to always rise to the occasion when the biggest challenges present themselves. Oregon has not faced a defensive line like the Trojans or a quarterback like Barkley.

Coming off a poor performance against Oregon State, the USC defense will play with a chip on its shoulder and want to show the nation they are one of the best units in the country.

If the Trojans play disciplined and force Oregon into obvious throwing situations they will leave Eugene with a hard fought victory.

twireskinny

0 thoughts on “The Skinny: Scary Movie Part IV: Where The Rubber Meets The Road

  1. i think our corners and pass rushers are playing great but its the linebackers and safties that are missing tackles and stuff. i predict our d-line to dominate and our offence to rip oregon apart. rojo and damian will have to play well. 45-21 usc wins

  2. i think our corners and pass rushers are playing great but its the linebackers and safties that are missing tackles and stuff. i predict our d-line to dominate and our offence to rip oregon apart. rojo and damian will have to play well. 45-21 usc wins

  3. Pete’s defensive design is getting old. The new college offenses, particularly the spread are passing him by.(remember Texas) His defense has little man to man coverage, leaving players open.
    One flanker of Oregon was uncovered almost every play right at the start of the play. The four down men are getting tied up and cut back plays go right by them Answer..3 down men and more linebackers. Use defensive backs as linebackers as this group were too slow. Taylor Mays needs to stop headhunting and take some tackling lessons, He needs to learn to wrap up, not just give a huge bump usually after someone else does the tackle.The middle of the field is wide open, a zone?,maybe we need man to man coverage. What about a spy player to just follow and mirror Masioli. Tayler Mays might have knocked his head off. I think this team discipline and fundamentals is very poor!
    Back to the drawing board. Every new team is now going to be studying what has worked so well against us the last 3 weeks.

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