BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 4: Wide receiver Marqise Lee #9 of the USC Trojans makes a diving catch in the end zone in front of defensive back Greg Henderson #20 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the second quarter at Folsom Field on November 4, 2011 in Boulder, Colorado. Lee Landed out of bounds on the play. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
But one area that I have waited to look at is the obvious elephant in the room. USC's offense vs. the UW defense....more specifically Nick Holt's defense.
Holt made a comment earlier this week that basically made the impression that he thought it would be easier to face USC's offense than Oregon's offense. Regardless of the meaning or context it certainly raised some eyebrows.
The opinion of Nick Holt is not a good one around USC, most because in the way he departed with Steve Sarkisian to UW.
"Holt's Defense" was basically Pete Carroll's defense. Holt was seen more of a place holder than the true nuts and bots of the defense. Hard not to understand why as Pete Carroll is a defensive guy. But when couple Holt's departure with USC's losses over the last two seasons the bitterness towards Holt is out there.
Holt may have been able to take some credit for the win over USC when Aaron Corp was at the helm but few will give him much credit for last years win in which USC's porous defense was the main culprit.
Some see Holt as smug.
Holt is under fire this season for UW's under performing defense.
Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt went over USC's offensive personnel after practice one night this week. "Just another different set of problems in a new week," Holt finally concluded to a group of reporters surrounding him.
For some, the Huskies defense's list of problems is topped by Holt, a former USC defensive coordinator under Pete Carroll.
"Coaching, Not Talent, Is the Problem On Defense" read a headline to a recent column in The Daily, the Washington student newspaper. The piece went on to say Holt should be fired.
The Huskies are 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (33.4 points per game), ninth in total defense (424.9 ypg) and last in passing defense (283.1 ypg).This is not good news for a squad that is about to face a quarterback in USC's Matt Barkley who is coming off throwing six touchdown passes against Colorado.
Not sure if Holt's future at UW is tied to how his defense performs today but you never know. The Pitchforks and torches are being readied.
Washington has not done well against ranked teams this season so the questions are there. Keith Price, while productive, is no Jake Locker and Chris Polk can't do it all.
This will be the third potent offense that UW will see this season. They have already been picked apart by Stanford and Oregon.
USC looks to do the same...
The No. 18 Trojans also will try to assert their rushing attack Saturday.
USC had success running the ball against the Huskies last season, with since-departed tailback Allen Bradford rushing for 223 yards and two touchdowns in a 32-31 loss.
Senior tailback Marc Tyler, sidelined last week against Colorado, said Thursday that his balky left shoulder was sound and that he was looking forward to playing against former Trojans assistants Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt.
Sarkisian, Washington's head coach, recruited Tyler for USC out of Westlake Village Oaks Christian High. Holt was USC's defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008, when Tyler spent much of practice on the scout team working against defensive starters.
"It's going to be fun," Tyler said.
Like said earlier, last years win by UW was more about a gassed USC defense not being able to stop Jake Locker on that final drive than it was about USC not being effective on offense. USC's defense is much better this season and USC's offense has showed what they can do.
We know that USC's passing attack is the best in the country, With a more productive rushing attack USC opposing defenses will be kept honest...when you combine the two, a balanced USC offense is almost unstoppable.
I will have the game thread up later...
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From the USC Perspective...
From the Washington Perspective...
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