Its obvious that USC’s performance, or lack there of, against Oregon St has provided a game plan for how to defend against SC’s defense.
One thing that stood out was OSU’s use of a WR as an extra blocker inside of the box on either Griffen or Matthews on some of their running plays. With Spicer getting double-teamed up front it opened up just enough of a hole for Rodgers to blow through. For all the talk about the defensive line being stout what often didn’t get discussed was its relative newness as a unit. I have read elsewhere that some of the schemes that Riley used would not have worked against LoJack or Big Sed. Maybe, maybe not. Unfortunately we will never know that if that is the case but it does underscore experience level of the defensive line.
But in that poor performance it gives other teams a road map as to how they might defend against us.
With his team visiting the Coliseum on Saturday, Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti has been watching videotape of USC's upset loss to Oregon State and likes what he sees.
Especially the performances of the Beavers' offensive and defensive linemen, who dominated in the trenches for much of the game, and diminutive running back Rodgers.
"I thought Oregon State attacked them pretty well," Bellotti said. " 'Quizz Rodgers, in all honesty, it was unbelievable how he got through some of those holes."
The Ducks don't employ the same schemes as Oregon State and don't have a 5-foot-7 starting back who can sneak through narrow spaces. Still, Bellotti expressed interest in the way Oregon State used straight-ahead running, quick passes and judicious blitzing on defense.
"Obviously," he said, "we're looking at that as a blueprint for success."
After reading numerous stories breaking down this game it is clear to me that this SC team simply didn't take OSU seriously. The weren't up for it and I don't know why. I mean why the DE’s didn’t absolutely smash WR James Rodgers when he came into the box to block is beyond me. You would think that such a size mismatch would be an irresistible morsel for our supposed hungry linemen. I would have hit him so hard that he would have never gotten up and never returned to the game. But as we saw they wanted to finesse their assignments by trying to block through their assignments instead of just hitting someone to get to Jaquizz Rodgers.
Pete Carroll demoting Griffen and Spicer, for the time being, for having sub-par performances is not a bad thing. It should light a fire under their butts to knuckle down and focus. Things can get out of hand real quick here. This game is more important that it was 3 weeks ago. Lose to Oregon and you won't even get to the Rose Bowl. Its as simple as that.
So now its time to regroup but the question is do they have the moxie to refocus and play like we have seen them play. SC is going to be tested by Oregon's RB tandem of Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount. SC is going to have to go back to quality tackling and getting penetration. Whoever the Ducks have at QB o Saturday is immaterial becuse SC has been burned by unknown QB's in the past so it should not matter who is under center. They will have to regroup and focus on stopping the run but not to the point of abandoning their pass defense. The stupid penalties have to stop. Some of those penalties come out frustration and that is because players are losing focus. That has to change if SC is going to get back on track.