We can debate forever the decision to call a pass play on 3rd and 4 late in the 4th quarter on Saturday night but the real reason USC lost on Saturday was because USC gave 500+ yards of offense against UW.
That is about the only way you are going to lose a game where you score 31 points.
Depth continues to be an issue.
Losing Malik Jackson on the defensive line and Byron Moore at safety has put USC in a position to play inexperienced players longer than the coaching staff would like. Depth is depth even if its not the best...giving your starters some rest keeps them from getting gassed at the end of the game like we saw on Saturday night.
This kind of says it all...
They led the Washington Huskies by two points with two minutes remaining. They had pinned the Huskies back on their own 23-yard line. It was fourth down and 11.
And then it was over, but not like you'd think, Washington driving 61 yards in 10 plays, ending with a game-winning, clock-killing 32-yard field goal by Erik Folk to give Washington a 32-31 victory.
Think about that for a moment...
10 plays for 61 yards in last two minutes. Talk about bleeding a defense.
They were gassed...giving up 400+ yards before that 10 play drive.
Of course the secondary really hurt us with their soft coverage, bad tackling and blown coverage.
The fact is the players are having a tough time grasping all of the subtleties of Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense.
When you consider that the team only gets 20 hours of prep per week it is easy to see that it is going to take a lot time to make things click.
The Tampa 2 also is not the defense of choice to stop the spread.
I find the unwillingness to adjust chilling. The personnel that we have right now is not grasping it and we have a number of teams on the schedule coming up that play the spread...is it going to be more of the same?
Going back to the 3rd and 4 for just a moment, here is Kiffin's rationalization on the play call...
With USC leading, 31-29, late in the fourth quarter, the Trojans faced third and four at Washington's 23-yard line.
Rather than trying another running play — tailback Allen Bradford had carried on five consecutive plays — Kiffin called for a pass. Matt Barkley's pass to tight end Jordan Cameron fell incomplete, stopping the clock.
Kiffin said he opted for the pass because the Trojans had produced six yards rushing in the previous two plays and "it was not a situation where I thought it was four-down territory."
Added the coach: "If you kick the field goal there, now they've got to go score a touchdown."
I understand the logic but running the ball also takes time off the clock and even it gets you 3 yards closer (if you don't convert the 1st down) who knows how the kick attempt turns out. So then its on Barkley...that pass didn't fall incomplete, if I remember correctly it sailed over Cameron's head. A pass falling incomplete was Leinart's pass to Brandon Hancock in the Title game against Texas on the fateful 4th and 2 drive.
Barkley for all of his improvement needs work on his finesse. There are times when you need to rocket the ball in and there are others where you need a little touch...Kind of like net play in a tennis match...
There really isn't much more to say. I think it gets worse before it gets better because I don't see Monte adjusting.
The question is will that demoralize the team further?