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Pac-10 Roundtable - Week #5 coming back to the pack edition

Its that time of the week again...The Pac-10 Roundtable

Here are the participants:

Building the Dam.
UW Dawg Pound.
What's Bruin, Dawg?
Pitchfork Nation
Coug Center
Addicted to Quack
The California Golden Blogs

The particulars after the jump!

1. Let's start off with a conference wide question. With USC's loss to Oregon St. on Thursday, is the myth (which I never believed) of USC and the 9 Dwarves finally shattered? Does this game help give the Pac-10 more credibility nationally? If not, why are those anti-Pac-10 bigots wrong?

I think it depends on who is doing the complaining. Because we play a round robin in the Pac-10, unless there is a coaching change, it is easy to spot and pick apart each teams tendencies so even less talented teams have a shot at knocking off a conference powerhouse. You would think that some who actually write about the sport would be able to discern that but most in the MSM know less than the average fan. As we all know the Pac-10 is unafraid to schedule tough OOC games regardless of the talent each team may put on the field. That Oregon St. may get pounded by PSU and then dominate USC simply shows that we are a talented conference that beats each other up in the Pac-10 because of familiarity.

2. Now that we are 5 weeks into the season, everyone should have a pretty good feel of how their team is performing. Tell us one or two things (good or bad, on offense or defense) that you're seeing that has surprised you about the performance of your team.

The bad - We are a bit perplexed…After two dominant wins, we all watched SC get absolutely blasted off both sides of the ball. The Oregon St. game is making us take a second look at both the offensive and defensive lines as they how they looked on Thursday night was how we thought they could possibly look in their first game together against UVA. It would appear that they have regressed.

The good- the receiving corps has been sparked by Damian Williams who transferred from Arkansas 2 seasons ago. He has raised the level of competition of the receivers and that is a welcome sight after the past two years of lack luster performance.

2a. More important, how much more of a snapshot do you need to really see where your team is headed this season?

I think we need another game. 3 games isn’t enough to really make an informed decision about the direction of this team, not after last weeks debacle. Especially with the pendulum swing hard from one side to another as to how this team has played. We are 5 weeks into the season and USC has only played 3 games…two dominant wins and one blow out loss that’s is just to incomplete a picture for me.

3. As evidence of Thursday night's big Oregon St. win, it's pretty clear that the Beavers have USC's number up in Corvallis. Who's got your team's number in the conference, and why?

(sheepishly) I kind of answered myself in the question…but yes the Beavers seem to have our number and other teams like WSU, UW and Arizona seem to always play us close. Stanford was an anomaly.

4. Everyone has a bad loss so far this year, even if it's just one. What did that one loss expose about your team, and how has your team bounced back?

The Loss to Oregon St. has now shown a pattern within the program of not being prepared for some of our conference rivals. Even when we have lost SC always seems to get up for the games against Oregon, Cal, ASU and ucla. But we always seem to have trouble against the rest of the conference. That needs to change and change fast because you can’t take anyone lightly in the Pac-10 anymore…Stanford showed us that.

5. To me, play-calling from play to play is over emphasized, when adjustments over the course of the game are key. How are your coaches doing throughout the course of games? Are they doing an adequate job of making the necessary adjustments, or do you feel they are hampering the players in their efforts?

For the most part the coaching staff does a pretty good job of adjusting at halftime or fixing something on the fly if they see a glaring mismatch. But…As much as I like Pete Carroll his insistence to use Joe McKnight when he isn’t getting the job done frustrates me. We have been blessed to have a stable of great running backs and Thursday night required a power running game between the tackles not the cutesy jukin’ and jivin’ that McKnight displayed against Oregon St. I can see trying the direct snap thing once but when Oregon St. defended it pretty well why would go back to it, especially on 3rd and long. Those are the sorts of things that drives me nuts, the refusal to change the game plan when what you schemed for simply isn’t working.