There were a lot of great story lines yesterday.
I would not say that all of our questions were answered but we saw some things that calmed our nerves. I think that USC was probably a little more jittery early on. SJSU really had nothing to lose as they have played in front of raucous crowds before so they just went out and did their thing. US on the other hand had some questions to answer and with the decision to start a true freshman quarterback it left a lot of fans and pundits unsure if that was the right move.
As I noted in yesterdays post game thread SC had to get settled in and get their sea legs. The offense was without Kris O'Dowd and Ronald Johnson. The O line pretty much kept Barkley protected most of the day. I saw atleast one sack and few pressure situation but they did a great job in keeping his uniform clean. The running game looked solid though McKnight's fumble pissed a lot of us off. McKnight came back later in the game and had some great runs, one of which went for a 54-yard touchdown run. Williams and Ausberry had a decent day though it was clear that there were not going to be many throws coming their way that were in the air-it-out type of mode.
The defense looked solid once they adjusted to the end around that San Jose St. looked to employ numerous times early in the game. The Spartans got some pretty good yardage of that play early but SC adjusted and bottled that play up. The Linebackers lived up to their billing and they are ready to step up and make their mark...
Don't think there wasn't pressure elsewhere on the field for USC, and it fell on linebackers not named Maualuga, Cushing or Maiava.
"I haven't been nervous for a game like this for a long, long time," Chris Galippo said. "Before the game, we were all just talking about how nervous we were."
Galippo is now the man in the middle, roaming the field where Rey Maualuga once crushed opponents.
Alongside him are Mike Morgan and Malcolm Smith, who must live up to the reputations built in past seasons by Brian Cushing and Kaluka Maiava.
In USC's 56-3 season-opening victory against San Jose State on Saturday at the Coliseum, apprehension made a pretty quick getaway. Galippo forced a fumble USC recovered on San Jose State's second possession, and one drive later, Galippo and Morgan combined on a sack to effectively end that march.
By the time the carnage was over, Galippo had a team-leading nine tackles and three tackles for loss, Smith had six tackles and broke up a pass, and Morgan had three tackles, including one for a loss.
It is going to be tough to fill the shoes of Maualuga, Cushing and Maiava but if there any group ready to step up it is this group of line backers. I think this group is actually faster than the last group and they are pretty much the gate keepers. Their pressure behind the D line will take a lot of pressure off the secondary, not that they really need any help. Another Linebacker that made a big impression was Jarvis Jones. This kid is the real deal and he is going to challenge for some playing time.
Linebacker Jarvis Jones finished with five tackles, including one for a loss, in his first game at strongside linebacker.
"Jarvis Jones showed up and was great for us today," USC coach Pete Carroll said.
Jones said he felt comfortable from the outset, although he was initially surprised the Trojans were losing 3-0after the first quarter.
"But I knew we'd come back eventually," Jones said.
Jones, who is from Columbus, Ga., said he was not sure what to expect from his first game in front of a large Coliseum crowd. Many fans expected him to go to Florida, because he grew up a Gators fan.
I think SC will be fine at Linebacker...Not getting Burfict or Te'o, along with the medical loss of Telfort, really hurt but I think SC is in a really solid spot at Linebacker. This crew will really make some plays.
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So lets talk about Barkley...
I think pretty much everyone is happy with his performance. He kept his composure he never looked rattled and he really didn't make a mistake thought at times it appeared that he wasn't seeing the field with some of the throws he was making. The only real criticism I had was that when the game was put away the coaching staff really never let him loose. He needed to air it out a few times to get a feel for what opposing defenses can do especially when SC heads to Columbus next week to take on a Buckeye team that will be looking to make some amends for last year AND yesterday.
Never the less the coaching staff was absolutely pleased with his performance...
Pete Carroll was right about Matt Barkley after all. The kid is unflappable.
Barkley probably won't lead USC to the national championship this season, but it's obvious he's not frazzled by anything.
The first collegiate game for the first true freshman at USC, and the kid barely registered a pulse.
The only nerves Barkley felt came during the Trojan Walk, in which players stroll through a walkway of fans leading to the Coliseum.
Barkley was so focused that he didn't notice his walk onto the field for his first offensive possession was accompanied by a standing ovation.
Carroll didn't exactly say he told us so, but he sure tried. The script on Barkley already has been written. Barkley just has to fill in the blanks.
Well, I think he had a decent game yesterday but I won't celebrate for a while..at least not until we get through the meat of the schedule. SJSU was a nice appetizer but lets concentrate on the steak and not the peas next weeks game in Columbus will give us some more infor on Barkley but it will it will be on the road against Cal and Oregon and at home against UW before I can make a solid opinion on the kid.
Barkley had a terrific supporting cast yesterday and that went along way to making his first start a little easier. There wasn't a running back on the sideline that didn't contribute and with the staff calling a very conservative gane plan it was hard for Barkley to mess this one up.
The Trojans' ground game made Barkley's introduction to college football a whole lot easier by covering 342 yards -- 7.6 yards per carry -- and scoring six touchdowns in a 56-3 victory over San Jose State at the Coliseum.
Joe McKnight led the way, bouncing back from an early fumble to gain a career-best 145 yards and score twice. But he was only part of the story on a day when Johnson, Allen Bradford and Marc Tyler made big plays against an overmatched opponent. "That's why SC's so good," San Jose State defensive end Carl Ihenacho said. "They have a bunch of backs and they all do something different."
The Trojans needed the running game to hit on all cylinders after getting off to a sluggish start, trailing the underdog Spartans, 3-0, after a quarter.
I have become so used to SC starting off a little sluggish over the past few years that I pretty much brace myself for some sloppy play play early on. We definitely saw that yesterday with two fumbles and some missed tackles on defense. SC really can't afford that next Saturday as they need to come out strong. OhioSt. will be up for this game...I don't care what we saw from them against Navy. More on that later in the week.
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I don't want to get carried away here, again it was against SJSU, but we saw an awful lot of production from the freshman yesterday...
I already discussed Jarvis Jones but Devon Kennard had 5 tackles, Nicke Perry had 2 sacks and T.J.McDonald had 3 tackles...that sort of production and exposure goes a long way to building confidence of the new guys and for prospective recruits that if you are good enough you will see the field early...it is all about attitude.
So, we we move on and turn our attention to Ohio St...
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Here are a bunch of links from yesterday and today that I have even had a chance to get through yet. If you find something interesting please write up a fan post...
USC football: 5 observations on Trojans-Spartans - OCRegister.com
Trojans' Galippo shows his mettle - OCRegister.com
Ripsit Blog - Pictures from USC's 56-3 win
Cautious gameplan tries patience of USC fans - OCRegister.com
Barkley enjoys a glorious USC debut - OCRegister.com
Matt Barkley gets the USC party started -- latimes.com
Pac-10’s New Commissioner Gets Involved - The Quad Blog - NYTimes.com
Early signs are that the Pacific-10 conference will be more pro-active under its new commissioner, Larry Scott.
Barkley gaining reputation as 'special' player - Pac-10 - ESPN
Reload, not rebuild, for USC defense - College Football Nation - ESPN