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Thoughts on Oregon St.

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What the hell kind of effort was that!

I don't want to hear about the injuries. I don't want to hear about how underclassmen are playing prominent roles. I don't want to hear about how much better the defense is compared to last year.

John David Booty IS NOT Matt Leinart.

Chauncey Washington IS NOT Reggie Bush or LenDale White.

The defense may be improved but they ARE NOT the monster defense of 2004.

This team has lived off of the successes of the last 2 seasons and this team isn't even close to being as good as those teams.

This loss is exactly what this team needs to get its game up to par, a punch in the mouth. They have been dodging the bullet all season and they finally got burned. There have been some great games and some great plays by some individuals on this team but they have not come consistently. At times the offense seems to play better when they are in crisis mode and that's not a good thing. There have been some dumb penalties that taken away big plays or stalled quality drives on offense.


You Guys look a little shell-shocked...care to explain why?
(Wally Skalij / LAT)

The lack of sacks and converted turnovers have hurt SC in their ability to keep opposing offenses off of the field and have let opposing teams hang around and stay in the game. The amount of turnovers that we have given up has been alarming and appalling and it really bit us against this weekend.

I'm not going to ask what Sarkisian and Kiffin were thinking in their play calling or what their game plan was. There will be plenty of time for that later on. They didn't fumble the ball 3 times or throw a costly INT in the end zone. They didn't allow a punt to be returned for a TD. In fact I'm curious as to why there were so many balls thrown behind or short to receivers in this game. I understand that the players can only work within the game plan that is put in front of them but correct me if I'm wrong the game plan does not call for three fumbles and an INT so that is the players fault.

Now, with that being said there are a number of things that stand out. A one loss USC team now leaves six teams undefeated and the BCS standings could get a lot murkier as other teams are sure to lose. We'll get to that later.

USC was courageous in their comeback. I am still unsure as to why they didn't give the ball to Washington on the 2-point conversion to tie the game. As I said earlier, Booty threw a number of balls short or behind the receivers. The pass that was intercepted in the end zone was thrown behind Jarrett, though I think Jarrett could have fought a little harder to gain possession or interfere with the defender in order to keep him from getting the ball. The 4th and goal to Smith was short and a number of throws didn't leave any room for adjustment by the receiver.

The defensive front did a great job of getting to the QB by getting six sacks but can we please abandon the hybrid defense. Cushing will always lose a one-on-one battle against an offensive lineman; he's just not big enough to take them on. In fact if there has been any deficiencies in Pete Carroll's recruiting this past season, it has been on the offensive and defensive lines. I understand that we have a ton of talent at the LB position but more doesn't necessarily mean better.

The cover 2, if that's what its called, that we are employing leaves a lot open field for opposing receivers to make catches underneath and OSU did a lot of that yesterday. The tackling was atrocious it allowed OSU to gain extra yards to either convert first downs or move the ball further down the field. Yes, the defense did hold OSU to field goals instead of TD's but to point to that as some moral victory smacks of an attitude that is not tolerated here, its not good enough. This defense has touted as one of the best I the country starting the season and we expected much more than just holding opposing offenses to FG's. Special teams leave a lot to be desired and if that stop is made on the punt return the game takes on a whole different look. The secondary is giving the opposing receivers way too much room to catch the ball.


Did anybody get the number of that truck?
(Wally Skalij / LAT)

Coming into this season I tried not to have expectations that were too high or unrealistic. I thought that with all of the new faces on this team that it would be difficult to match the success that we achieved in previous years. But I also thought that given the talent that was returning we would have a good shot at being in the mix. Unless we improve our quality of play in the coming weeks we will be on the outside looking in and we will end up in some garbage can bowl game around Christmas time along with all the other also-rans.

As for the BCS who knows? Now that SC doesn't control their own destiny they can only hope that there will a lot of one loss teams that they can jump over. I'm not sure how it will all shake out but you can be sure that that if SC does win out they will have a good chance provided everyone else, except Ohio State, has one loss but that is a long-shot at best and I'm not yet convinced that SC has the chops to win all their remaining games if they continue to play like they did yesterday.

And while it's on my mind if Rey Maualuga expects to be leader of this team he better act like one. showing up late for a team meeting that subsequently gets him benched for the first half is not how one leads from the front. he has had his chances and his actions show me that he may feel like he's a little bit above it all. It is time he stopped reading his press clippings and act like the leader he badly wants to be.

Now is the time to get it gear. This team doesn't have the luxury of the big three to bail them out of jams since they moved on to the NFL. Are my comments harsh? You bet. We have come to expect a lot more than we are getting from this team and they need to understand that this is a whole new ballgame and more than ever opposing teams want their shot at us and they will come with best they put up against us.