When Arizona's Keola Antolin torched Cal for 149 yard and 3 TD's it was like a light bulb went off in Mike Stoops head about trying to mix things up this week against USC. Antolin made the most of his chance when Stoops pulled statrter Nic Grigsby from the game after a costly fumble.
The moment the ball fumbled from his arms, the Arizona running back was banished to the sideline for the remainder of the game.The Trojans defense represents only half the test facing Grigsby. When he got yanked against Cal, freshman Keola Antolin exploded for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
"It was a little lesson they wanted me to learn," Grigsby said of his benching last week at California. "Hit me right in the face."
So it is a penitent and angry young man who hopes to make amends when Arizona plays sixth-ranked USC in a critical game in Tucson on Saturday night.
Now Coach Mike Stoops, while suggesting that Grigsby remains the starter, is talking about using his backs as a one-two punch. And the small, quick Antolin looks an awful lot like Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, who had a big game against USC this season.
There have been a lot of compariosons between Antolin and Oregon State's 'Quizz Rodgers, who gave SC fits in Corvallis, in their size and style of running in how they can "hide behind the lineman" and squirt though unseen for big gains. There is some truth to that, you can't catch what you can't see. But the one thing that made it difficult for SC against Oregon St. was the their QB's mobility and the blocking schemes OSU used to keep SC's D-line at bay.
Arizona will play it a little different than USC is used to in trying spead the USC defense across the field to give Tuitama better passing lanes and more time to throw. This would also open some space for RB's to make some gains. I would expect USC saftey Kevin Ellison to see a lot of action to come up and help stop the run. Arizona has decent O-line but they have allowed Tuitama to be sacked 16 times this season.
Stoops' intent to use Grigsby and Antolin as a one-two punch really shouldn't surprise anyone given how well Antolin played and how his type of game could give SC fits like OSU's Rodgers did.The question is will be effective? Hard to say, running backs like consistency and if Arizona hasn't rotated their RB's with any regularity it might make things a little inconsistent in their backs trying to find a rhythm, but that is pure speculation on my part.
Either way this game will not be easy for SC. They are going to have to deal with a tough crowd on their homecoming weekend and a team that is going to grab a Pac-10 title who will also bring their A game to try and take down USC. They have done it before against Oregon last year SO SC needs to be firing on all cylinders and play with an intensity that was missing in the Oregon State game.
This will be a good one!