With drive killing penalties continuing to be an issue Lane Kiffin opened up competition at the Left Tackle position.
Keep in mind that the O-line has four returning starters. So, it is surprising that this unit is struggling like they are. If Barkley has time he can do some real damage. Without it his efforts almost seem pedestrian.
While the penalties on offense are an issue that MUST be minimized it would be unfair to not point out that opposing defenses get a free pass in how they defend Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. I can't tell you how many holding or interference calls get ignored while if a USC DB breathes on an opposing player they get flagged.
That doesn't exclude the false starts and holding calls that we see on the O-Line.
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Do the penalties have to do with USC less than flashy offense?
Last year after the ASU loss you could USC's offense make the turn. The Stanford on the ropes...they hung with Luck. Poor officiating and late turnover did USC in but you could see a tremendous amount of confidence in the offense, there was some flash! Now, not so much.
The tone from fans and others who follow the program suggested something went drastically wrong in the Emerald City, but no, no, the Trojans did pull off the win — their third straight.
"This isn’t about anybody’s numbers or Heisman or any of that," USC coach Lane Kiffin reminded everyone during his post-game news conference. "This is about winning games."
Sure it is. That, of course, is obvious. But that’s hardly the whole picture.
Fans are growing increasingly frustrated each week — even with the winning, and, really, they deserve to be.
It is hard to pinpoint the exact reason of the USC offense being so lack luster, but there is no question that it is not up to what we are used to. As noted above, a lot of it seems to be stupid penalties and Kiffin's lack of faith in the O-line but it is hard not to see that Matt Barkley has not had the same spark like he did last year...that he is not yet hitting his stride.
It sure isn't pretty that's for sure...
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We loathe to call out players when they under perform, but it hard not to see how Torin Harris has struggled at CB this season. Many on the blogs and boards have been pulling their hair out that Josh Shaw has not been thrown into the mix sooner than he was. Shaw is making the most of this opportunity at CB.
The cornerback spot opposite junior Nickell Robey has been a question mark the entire season, and Harris’ injury didn’t help depth at the position. Moreover, freshman Kevon Seymour, who had been rotating the most with Harris, made the trip to Seattle, but did not suit up for unspecified reasons.
But the defense’s biggest — and perhaps only — question mark might have been resolved Saturday, as sophomore Josh Shaw stepped in and played admirably. Shaw, a transfer from Florida, had practiced at cornerback intermittently the week before but had not seen significant playing time on defense before the Washington game.
Shaw is an experienced player who played against some fast defenses when he was at Florida. Kiffin needed to make the move and Shaw delivered. Regardless of what is being reported I don't think it will long before we Shaw starting at CB.
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