I meant to get this up earlier this week.
Based on his performance last Sunday, Robert Woods showed us why he is so important to this offense.
Woods' return to the lineup started a positive chain reaction in what had been an inconsistent and sometimes sluggish passing attack during training camp. The sophomore made Barkley look like a top NFL prospect and allowed freshman receiver Marqise Lee to continue his ascent to a possible starting role.
Barkley connected with Woods on three touchdown pass plays, all against the second-team defense, during the 123-play scrimmage.
"I don't know what it is but we're just on the same page, whether it's telepathically or something else," Barkley said. "I just know what he's going to do."
That sort of "know" that Barkley mentioned is key to this offense working on a high level.
Woods has shown a tremendous amount of maturity in his short time at USC...he was a one man highlight reel last season.
Woods has had this mysterious high ankle sprain that has sidelined him longer than most would have thought. Maybe that's a blessing to keep him fresh for the season...its hard to tell.
Here are some of the highlights...
Woods and Barkley improvised on their first touchdown, recognizing an unfamiliar coverage and altering the play accordingly for a 22-yard score.
"On that play, it kind of seemed like we just knew what each other was going to do," said Woods, who had six catches for 122 yards. "And it actually happened like that again on another play. He just saw the same thing I saw."
On the very next play for the first-team offense, Barkley and Woods connected on a 42-yard scoring strike. Their third TD hookup came from the 2-yard line and also featured an on-the-fly adjustment.It has become clear that USC's offense isn't the same without a fully functioning Woods. When he was absent, "you could feel the need for speed out here," Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said. "I thought we looked faster today with him being out here."
That is good and bad.
Good because we know what we have in Woods. Bad, because until one of the other receiver step up the offense will sputter a bit.
Who is it going to be?
Carswell and Butler are the vets but it just seems that they aren't there yet. Flournoy still settling in and then there are the freshman...Prater (RS) Lee, Famer, Blackwell. Lee has made one heck of an impression during camp while Farmer and Blackwell are a little behind. Then there is Prater...whose it going to be?
Speaking of Woods, Lee and Farmer...
Woods arrived as part of Kiffin's first recruiting class in 2010, quickly establishing himself with precise route-running and an uncommonly mature approach. He was a starter from the opener, led the Trojans in receptions and kickoff returns and was a freshman All-American.
Lee and Farmer arrived this summer and reunited with Woods, their role model and mentor.
"It feels like old times," said Lee, who is on track to start opposite Woods when the Trojans open against Minnesota next week.
USC has a great pipeline out of Gardena Serra...even with a coach that went to UCLA.
USC looks pretty good at the WR position for the foreseeable future...