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The Defense: Still Coming Together

"Bend don't break seems to be the rule of thumb for the SC defense this season. With a lack of sacks and lack of turnovers in the few games people are having a hard time understanding how the defense has been successful in stopping their opponents. Of course injuries and new faces in the secondary are part of the reason.  Pete Carroll has chosen to take a conservative approach.

Hey, if it's working then why change? As I said here, the coaching staff doesn't seem concerned that the defense hasn't blown the doors off of their last few opponents. I'm not saying that he wouldn't take a few sacks or a few turnovers, but right now the defense is holding opposing offenses without giving up the big play so the coaching staff will take what they can get. That's not to say that SC will continue to be successful with this style of play but if it helps get things stabilized as we go into the second half of the season then so be it.

Ellis will hopefully be in top form

That's pretty much what Wolf writes today in The Daily News.

Because the Trojans are not getting much pressure, teams are content to chip away at the defense, and USC coach Pete Carroll is sitting back in safe mode, without blitzing to increase pressure.

"We've been able to control the games because guys have not been able to go over the top," Carroll said. "It's a little frustrating because teams are pecking away."

With two of USC's top three cornerbacks (Terrell Thomas, Kevin Thomas, Cary Harris) having a combined 12career starts, the Trojans seem to prefer to play with a bend-but-don't-break philosophy.

"Our philosophy is to eliminate the big play. If that is conservative, I guess you could call it that," defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin said. "Conservative works for these opponents."

I realize this sounds like I'm a broken record but we have been spoiled with the big play defenses that SC has had the last few years. The fact that the defense is better than last year but not making the same sort of plays to me is not as important as I first felt earlier in the season. They have been holding their opponents though not in the way that we are accustomed to.

SC knows the talent they have and they have adjusted their game to compensate for it. That's not a bad thing, you live within your means so-to-speak. As other authors have noted on other sites, the style of offense currently run in the Pac 10 can be, as the article notes, pass-happy and if you're not careful really spread you out. Once that happens it can turn into a horse race.

It will come together, it will just take a little more time.