One of the biggest questions that people were asking after Thursday’s debacle was why PC/SS continued to go with the running back by rotation along with the use of the cutesy plays like the direct snap to McKnight.
Wolf offers up some good observations.
An NFL assistant coach who watched USC lose to Oregon State on Thursday said the Beavers' top priority was stopping tailback Joe McKnight and the Trojans did not adjust by passing the ball more.
"They kept trying to run into a brick wall," said the assistant, who asked not to be identified.
That analysis was hardly repudiated by USC coaches Monday.
"We tired to do more stuff with Joe. That package of plays didn't work out, it wasn't that Joe didn't work out," running backs coach Todd McNair said. "We felt that package was going to be effective with Oregon State."
OK but when it became apparent that the game plan wasn't going to work why not make an adjustment?
I have been supportive of Pete Carroll’s use of this rotation as for the most part we have seen it work. But Thursday was a completely different story as the cutesy running game was absolutely shut down. I was perplexed that there was no back-up plan…I firmly believe that we should have went to straight power running game and just pounded the ball. We have heard people say numerous times that USC uses a lot of pro sets in the offense but one thing we don’t do enough of is stick with one guy to just pound it.
You can probably see where I am going…why not use Allen Bradford in the LenDale White type role. Just like last year, all we heard in camp was how great Bradford is, that he has a great work ethic and how his game has really improved etc. etc. I say that if that's true then why not use him?
Even the normally quiet Bradford is now questioning his role…
USC tailback Allen Bradford has waited patiently for his chance.
He starred on special teams for two seasons. Broke off highlight-reel plays almost daily last spring and during fall training camp.
The powerful junior from San Bernardino, coaches said, would be part of the tailback rotation.
But after getting no carries in the Trojans' loss at Oregon State, Bradford could not contain his frustration.
"Even with as many tailbacks that we have, I shouldn't be going through this," Bradford said Monday after practice. "I just want to play. I came here to play."
I am going to go way on a limb here…if Pete Carroll doesn’t go with a more stabilized running attack in the game plan going forward he will lose one or two of these backs to transfer.
Why stay? Why not move on and get some reps to show what you’ve got. What have you got to lose. If the coaching staff doesn’t have gumption to change when things aren’t working during the game then how do you expect them to change their philosophy when things need to be reevaluated?
That being said, It would appear that change may be coming…
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said the coaching staff will "assess" the four-man tailback rotation during practice this week.
USC continues to list Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable, Stafon Johnson and Allen Bradford as "co-starters," but Bradford barely played against the Beavers (zero touches) and McKnight didn't play effectively.
When the opposing team knows whats coming it means you have become too predictable.
I understand that Pete Carroll loves Joe McKnight but he is no Reggie Bush and he won't ever be Reggie Bush. He shows some explosiveness but not Bush explosiveness and he still has trouble with holding onto the ball. I can see some great value in McKnight but when you get schooled by a defense that replaced its front seven its time to reevaluate.
This game must have really shaken the fondation because it appears that other change is coming. On the defensive side, the supposed best defesne in the nation was kept in check and because of it people are being moved.
Nose tackle Averill Spicer had trouble being double-teamed tackling. He also had two personal foul penalties before halftime so he drops o the 2nd unit. Christian Tupou moves to the first team with with freshman Jurrell Casey getting some looks. It also looks like Clay Matthews will start in place of Everson Griffen at DE who had anbsolutely dreadful game. That is provided Matthews isn't moved to SLB in place of Cuching moving to MLB in place of an injured Maualuga. Gallipo is going to get some looks at MLB.
It would appear to me that lack luster performances will now result in reduced playing time. The Spicer penalties were just stupid and as good a Griffen is he showed that he can be contained but more importantly he still has a bit of a way to go as he is still missing assignments. I can accept having a tough time early on trying catch that waterbug Rodgers but at some point you need to make adjustments, Griffen didn't do that and Spicer couldn't break through when he was double-teamed. Coach Nick Holt thought that maybe Griffen mailed it in a bit on Thursday.
I can live with a loss...it hapens, but this loss completely makes me take a second look at this team and their preparation. Hopefully these shake-ups will help provide the necessary spark that this team back on track. There is simply no excuse for the performance we saw last week. It would appear that even the coaching staff is looking at how they do things to get back on track.