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A little offensive introspection

Man, how we have been spoiled...

3 years ago we witnessed one of the most potent offenses ever to play college football. The way Bush, Leinart, Jarrett, White and Smith seemingly scored at will in that 2005 season was a sight to see. For three years we witnessed this juggernaut and after the loss to Texas in the BCS Title Game it seemed like it vanished into thin air.

Now, even with all the talent that we have there are time when this offense seems that it just can't seem to really get going. 4 turnovers against ASU and scoring only 17 points against Arizona (not counting the mess in Corvallis) has made not just the fans but the coaching staff start to take a look a little more closely and ask themselves a few more questions about why things arent quite right.

USC averages 38 points a game, leads the Pacific-10 Conference in passing yards and offers a potent running game that gains 5.1 yards per carry.

"The fact of the matter is, if you look at the stats, it's not like we're Johnny off the pickle boat," offensive line coach Pat Ruel said.

But stats never tell the entire story, and this week the No. 7-ranked Trojans spent more time second-guessing each other than any other week of the season.

It is partly the result of scoring a season-low 17 points against Arizona. And partly from a disturbing trend, as the offense has scored 21 or fewer points in three of the past five games.

"A little bit is being a little young in some spots," Ruel said. "But it's more about an attitude about paying attention to detail. We have to have it. When we lose it, sometimes it's about trying too hard."

Nearly every offensive coach used the word, "inconsistent" to describe the current state of the offense. The reasons vary with every position alternating between spurts of dominating play followed by frustrating mistakes.

"Everybody wants us to score 50 points a game," Ruel said.

Hmmm....you bet we want to see this team with all this talent score 50 points a game against some of these teams.

For the most part the Oline has done what it has needed to do to protect Sanchez and make some holes for the running game. Sanchez has been the one that has been inconsitent. There was no excuse for this team not to put at least 21 or more points on top of the 28 they had against ASU. That game was at home and the 4 turnovers by Sanchez killed any momentum that SC could have had by not letting the ASU offense on the field.

I don't expect SC to blow out every team they face so I would have been pleased with a 24-10 win against Arizona but hearing Mark Sanchez say that becasue he blew that first pass to PT and how it then affected him the rest of the game is bit concerning.

Sanchez admitted this week he is still trying to make too many big plays instead of dumping off passes to the tailbacks, something former quarterback Matt Leinart made a career doing while winning a Heisman Trophy.

"It's my first year starting and I'm trying to take everything in stride," Sanchez said. "I think it's just pressing."

This is an old issue for Sanchez. For the past two years, forcing passes was always listed as a concern, but he had supposedly overcome it after he started three games last season.

At this point in his career I don't think that it too much to ask to want to see Sanchez be a little more farther along in his decision making. It is easy to point to play calling and coaching but the players still have to execute and Sanchez needs to learn how let the bad plays go, while learning from them, and move on with the game and make solid plays. He has had the opportunity to learn from his predecessors and he should use those lessons that they learned and adapt them to his game. Its OK to be like Matt Leinart...

I realize that it won't perfect every time but it would be nice to see a little better effort in some of these games.