SC faces a difficult challenge this weekend when they take on Oregon this weekend up in Eugene. The past few years has seen a resurgence in Oregon as they have made some noise nationally. Oregon QB Dennis Dixon is probably the most athletic quarterback USC will see this season. His ability to run the ball as well as effectively run the spread offense will offer USC's defense a real challenge.
Oregon has been running the spread offense for three years, but never like this.
It hasn't always been a bead of roses for Dixon who has had 3 Offensive coordinators in the last 4 years and at the end of last season the team seemed to fall apart under his leadership. Oregon has lost some players of late either to injury or to suspension.
But that hasn't slowed them down, they are currently ranked 2nd in total offense nationally:
Oregon ranks second nationally in total offense, averaging 550 yards a game. The Ducks gain an average of 6.94 yards a play while scoring 46.6 points per game -- the kind of numbers USC's offense used to put up.
USC Coach Pete Carroll, on Tuesday's conference coaches' call, described Oregon as "ridiculously effective."
While I don't expect this game to be a cakewalk, USC is ranked 3rd in the nation in defense so this where the game will be won. Of course Simers' take is more like the sky is falling .
You're the defensive whiz, putting aside Vince Young for a moment, and this season is now riding on your ability to stop an Oregon team averaging 47 points a game.
It's your very own Karl Dorrell moment.
We've got no problem around here putting Dorrell to the test seemingly every other week, and yet you're the one who has failed two of the biggest final exams in recent memory.
You lost a national title because you couldn't corral the Texas quarterback. Then you lost a championship invite because you couldn't beat a ho-hum team coached by Dorrell.
No one, though, is really beating you up for blowing it like that because for the most part you've been pretty darn dependable.
Simers has some balls even uttering Dorrell's name in the same sentence as Pete Carroll. For the most part Pet Carroll's defenses have done pretty well in stopping this type of mobile QB, Vince Young aside. As for losing to the train wreck across town...hey, it happens. SC and Pete Carroll have accomplished more in the off-season than Dorrell will ever accomplish in the regular season. The USC defense has played pretty well this season except for the 4th quarter against Stanford so I am confident that they can do a respectable job of defending against Dixon and great running back Jonathan Stewart. Dixon will get his yards and make some plays but I really think that SC has what it takes to stop the Oregon offense. Oregon is more of a running team and that is the strength of the USC defense and Oregon has yet to see a defense like USC's
The USC offense on the other hand will be going up against an Oregon defense that has some issues of it's own. Outside of the Red Zone where they are #1 in the Pac-10 they are pretty pedestrian between the 20's.
Defensive National Rankings-
SC needs to run the ball and eat up the clock to keep Dixon and the high-flying Oregon Offense off the field. If the USC offense is efficient, protects the ball (no dropped passes) and eliminates the stupid penalties I think SC will win this game. Special teams will also be an issue, clean punt/kick returns with NO penalties will go a long way to helping SC pull out a win.
The biggest distraction in this game will be the crowd in Autzen, they have become more emboldened over the years especially with the resurgence of the football program. Duck's fans in Autzen have no problem taunting opposing players or fans. The noise factor is something that needs to be addressed so that proper line calls and audibles can take place regardless of who the quarterback is.
We will have a Q&A with Addicted to Quack SBN"s Oregon Blog tomorrow or Friday.