I think its safe to say that while it was a win there are still a number of questions about this team. As I have said before we have been spoiled by an explosive offense the past few years and a defense, last year that made it interesting to say the least. This team has a totally different feel and with all the new faces on this team it's a different style of play.
John David Booty at times looks comfortable running the offense; on others he looks a little unsure. And while this wasn't his best performance he got the job done with what some would call a serviceable performance. It's only his third start so there is still a little work to be done with timing. He needs to get the ball down field more instead of playing "dink & dunk" for short yardage. D&D is fine but at some point you need to let it fly. With the talent we have in our receiver corps there is no excuse to air it out.
The running game is starting to take shape. Emmanuel Moody is putting his mark on the offense and is showing that he can be an explosive option. He still needs to just let it go and well...Go! Big gains on first down are the key to opening up the offense. He had a couple of big runs in the game but mostly small yardage runs. Chauncey still hasn't found his rhythm I know he's had some hammy problems but now is the time to show us what you've got. Otherwise step aside and get healthy. Gable will come into his own in due time.
We need to see more of this from Moody.
Photo courtesy of the AP-The Arizona Republic, Deirdre Hamill
The receivers are still our biggest weapons. Once the running game gets going they will be more lethal than they are now. We all know what they can do. With Jarrett being out for 3-4 weeks this will give Patrick Turner a chance to get some regular playing time and show us what he can do. I'm not concerned that Turner will step up. He has had some catches that have given us a glimpse of his talent. Smith is the quiet grinder who will always find a way to make a play. I'm not worried about these guys.
Mr. Smith is now in charge.
Photo courtesy of the AP-John Miller
The O line has done a pretty decent job of giving Booty time to throw but it looks like they are having some trouble opening the holes like they did last year. This is the most important aspect of the offense. If they are opening holes for the RB's then the rest falls into place. Yes, they have a lot of new faces also and it will take some time for them to make a more cohesive unit but we need them to come together now.
The defense is really making a statement. They sacked Tuitama 5 times and Rey Maualuga is fast becoming the leader of this group. Rey has put last year behind him and has made great strides in his game and off the field. They are making it tough on opposing QB's to set up and make plays. The sent a loud message by holding he `Cats to -16 yards rushing. That's a BIG deal and shows that they are getting some major penetration and controlling the line. The secondary did an OK good job of containing the long ball but they fell prey a number of times to the short pass. All in all they just played great.
Special teams had a pretty good game outside of the missed field goal and the opening kick-off for 41 yards. We can always do better.
Injuries continue to hurt us with both Jarrett and Havili going down. They depth that we have on this team enables us to just plug in the pieces that need to be filled. FB is another story though. We are woefully thin at this position and it show's; the short pass to the fullback is an excellent weapon to have in your bag.
If things stay as they are it will be tougher for USC to get through the Pac 10 schedule unscathed. Oregon and Cal run some tough offensive schemes and it is a lot to ask of our defense to constantly hold the opposing offense if our offense sputters and can't stay on the field. We have some work to do and we need to fix things now in the easier part of the schedule.
I'm happy at being 3-0 but we need to nail a few things down before I will feel totally confident that we can run the table. We turn our focus to Wazzu.