(Note: This wasn't an actual conversation that took place in the offense huddle during last night's loss)
Cody Kessler: "Student-body right" USC gains 12 yards.
Cody Kessler: "HB Dive on two, ready... break." Trojans gain seven yards.
Next 20 plays: 4 rushing attempts.
In looking at the numbers from last night's disappointing loss, one number stood out to me: 6.3. USC was averaging 6.3 yards per carry if you take out the -25 rushing yards by Cody Kessler, which were as a result of sacks. Tre Madden led the Trojans with 121 rushing yards and 7.1 yards per carry while Ronald Jones II had 65 rushing yards and 8.1 yards per carry.
With the injuries and struggles in the passing game last night, why did the Trojans abandon the run? Let's go back and look at a fourth quarter drive after forcing Washington to a three and out.
Did you know that USC ranked 26th in the nation in yards per carry with 5.3? I did, but I am not sure that Clay Helton and Steve Sarkisian do.
USC has a dymanic duo of Jones II and Madden but both arent getting the ball enough. This team ran the ball 524! times last year and if you take the average of carries per game through five games in 2015, the Trojans are on pace for only 403 carries this year, their lowest output in two years.
In retrospect, under Pete Carroll, USC had under 500 carries in a season only twice (416 in 2006 and 438 in 2009).
With a power back averaging 7.1 yards per carry and perhaps the fastest running back since Reggie Bush averaging 8.1, the offense needs to change now. While watching the game last night, did you notice that both Jones II and Madden fought and broke through multiple tacklers for the extra yardage?
Another reason why USC needs to run the ball more: The passing game.
Washington sacked Kessler five times last night and had 10 tackles for a loss. With the passing game not in sync last night, Washington was crowding the ball and USC continued to try and pass it only. Why not run the ball three or four times and then do a play action deep ball?
There was a lot of questionable play-calling last night ( I am being generous) but the fact is this, USC need to run the ball if they want to turn their season around.