Morning Buzz: USC Got An Energy Boost

In USC’s past 14 games, I’ve seen two contests where the Trojans looked energized and bonded as a team: the Arizona State game last season and Stanford last night.

The common thread was the quarterback in both games was making things happen and providing on-field leadership.

Kedon Slovis provided the boost and you could see the rest of the team getting excited as he made the offense go.

That’s why it is so imporant to pick someone the team wants to play at quarterback. It’s still early and only one game but at least the team believes in Slovis.

Will Slovis appear in the Heisman odds this week? Some fans on twitter wanted to build a statue of him.

Here is Slovis’ record-setting performance compared to other USC freshmen. The caveat is none of them got to run the Air Raid offense.

USC CHART

First starts by USC true freshmen QBs:

Kedon Slovis: 28-33, 377 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

JT Daniels (2018): 21-35, 282 yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs

Matt Barkley (2009): 15-19, 233 yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs

Carson Palmer (1998): 18-31, 279 yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs

Rob Johnson (1991): 10-20, 114 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs

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65 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC Got An Energy Boost

  1. Slovis was fine, had the usual Freshman moments but they were few and far between. Defense still major issues. If Gomer can stay out of the play calling the team might do something, but the defense HAS to improve. Nice win, but Gomer is still not the man to lead USC back to prominence.

    And the PAC 12 is awful, I don’t think Oregon or Utah are that good and UDUB wet the bed last night, maybe the PAC 12 should stop playing FCS teams and man up in non league games and maybe drop ucla from the league

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Agree defense has to improve, but the LBs looked so much better in the second half. Stanford QB seemed to lose his confidence, which I thought had to do with the second half pass rush.

      The performance last night had a similar feeling to ’16. Helton is still Helton, and Perndergast is stil Pendergast, but last night a totally different team showed up.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. gt, you know the biggest similarities between Sam and Kedon is that they both look comfortable (the moment does not seem to big for them and the defenses don’t seem to rattle them), they both have have confidence, and they both make plays. I honestly don’t see their games as being really similar, but for the aforementioned reasons they are very similar.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Arturo, all good points, I am pasting in what I wrote to you earlier, but I think that by that time everyone had moved on to Scott’s next post.

        Pudly indicated that Stepp still needs to work on pass catching, and the first two games really showcase that the play mix is going to be something like 2/1 passing. I haven’t heard about any other potential deficiencies.

        If you go back to watch video of LenDale, I think you will see some similarities with Stepp in terms of power and speed.

        The good news is that the Trojans have 3 REALLY good RBs.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You’re analysis is stupid and forged from the weak knowledge of football you and your little friends share. You don’t know a football from a birthday cake you fool.

      Like

    3. The defense did improve- within the game. The biggest adjustment that the defense made was not taking themselves out of the play. In the past and at the beginning of this game, the front seven looked to penetrate at all costs, running by ball carriers and creating huge running lanes which the Cardinal would exploit. In the second half of last night’s game, the defense did a better job of staying disciplined, not overrunning the play, staying with their blockers and either making the play or waiting for help to arrive. The defense hasn’t had to practice against an offense like Stanford and did well to adapt in the game.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Arturo, I’m only responding to this post to tell you that you show good knowledge with a lot of your comments. It’s rare that I see that consistently and I’m always happy to see people who know the game. Nice to see you.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. I thought the defense looked better than last week. However, the difference was the running qb for Fresno, while the Injun’s qb looked like Daniels, a statue. That is the difference

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    1. the problem is ‘ jt ‘ was not ready for the big time last yr , but helton insisted he was…same this year…Sears was ready last yr and this yr….even Slovis was more ready…it is the mental aspect coupled to the physical, especially with the ‘O’ line problems last yr and this yr…SC needed a q/b like Sam who knew how to get out of a jam…’jt’ may some day but the 3 listed behind him were ready now and could run and throw on the run…thank goodness Drevno is actually improving the ‘O’ line.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. From my vantage point from Section 120A (without benefit of TV replays and commentary etc), here are my grades:
    QB – A
    Kudos to Slovis not caving under pressure and nerves in first start.
    Stats are fantastic – 28 of 33 for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns and 12 positive yards rushing/srmbling
    RB – B+
    Solid 25 yard TD run by Carr and Malapeai two touchdowns
    Markese sees field and blasts forward for 33 yards. Could have been more except for dreaded holding penalty
    WR – A
    SC nearly had two receivers with over 100 yards.
    Slovis to St Brown connection looks strong and bodes well for future
    Welcome to the club Mr London, excellent hands!!
    Defense – B
    Defensive adjustments were one of the keys to this victory. Kudos to all the coaches in holding Standford to ZERO points in second half
    Special Teams – B-
    Punting looked better with great hang time (B)
    Kick return grade hampered by fumble and average kick return blocking throughout game (C-)
    Kickoffs were ok and not deep all night except in 4th quarter. Early in game, shoddy kickoff gave Stanford short field (USC 35 yard line) resulting in Stanford scoring (C+)
    Field goals/PATS – Perfect night for McGrath (A)
    Coaching – A
    Give entire coaching staff credit for preparing Slovis and just as important the in game defensive adjustments especially holding Stanford scoreless in 2nd Half. Shocked that Shaw made no adjustments to counter Slovis.

    Overall – A
    This is exactly the game needed to counter all of the over the top criticism. For better or worse, the AD and coach is who we have and we need to stick by our players. Constructive criticism is fine but many of those on this blog go well beyond any decency..

    BYU will top especially being this team’s first away game in a difficult altitude. One game at a time, fellas!!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. 67, I know I hit you up with this in the last post, but I will ask again: Is Stepp a complete back? (Pass catching, blocking assignments etc) Maybe that is what is keeping him off the field.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. 67, I kept seeing Stepp’s name, but I hadn’t actually seen him until last night. Making no value judgment whatsoever, I honestly don’t think he is the kind of back that Harrell would’ve recruited in this offense.

        Like

      3. Clay, my understanding from Pudly is that Stepp still needs to develop his pass catching skills, which is a negative from the perspective of the offense. That said, he seems to have some unique attributes as a runner, with 4.4. speed and 235 pounds, and they appear to be on track to run about 25-30 times per game.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree that we over-do it in the Helton criticism (“beyond all decency” might be a bit too melodramatic though —let’s reserve that one for war crimes). But, all in all, Helton should be complimented for seeing what needed to be done —–( i.e., get an Air Raid offensive coordinator—somebody who could unleash our skill players)…

      Liked by 5 people

      1. One game MG…one game…a lot of 50/50 balls that found home…Stanford had opportunity to grab control of game (for once it was Shaw, not USC, who engaged in questionable play calling – shocked he kept throwing the ball from the second quarter on like that) and didn’t…

        Let’s see them do this more than once…

        But congrats to the players!

        And to all of you who this week were right while I was wrong…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. James — As usual, you’re the site’s voice of reason. It’s only one game —and it may have been against a team that is gonna have a very down season. On the other hand, Drevno has done more with the O-line that I thought possible (apologies for all the crap I’ve been throwing his way). And check out what Fresno State did against a very good Minnesota team. Fresno State is no joke.
        #HowWillYouFeelIfWeDoTheSameThingToBYUWeDidToStanford?

        Liked by 4 people

      3. I know that I’ve been critical of Helton, but he does deserve credit for this. I still think that the way he manages games and his decision making (i.e. use of timeouts) need to improve going forward.

        #Meyercanwaitfornow

        Liked by 4 people

      4. MG
        I had just written another response to you mentioning that the offensive line was the stand out of the game to me more than Slovis – he had time because they blocked as an ensemble and formed a pocket – haven’t seen that at USC in a long time…now that is a building block that bigger things can get built on top of!

        Arturo:

        After last night, I have to just shut my mouth for the moment, but for that one night, your point is well made…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. hellton was told what needed to be done…and the culture change, tougher practices, more weight lifting, coaching changes,etc…and our AD announced they agreed it would be done…and hellton would let the coaches coach…it was not helltons idea to fire anyone until pressure came down on him…

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    2. glad you enjoyed the game and win…
      I am a staunch believer in not inflating grades,so having seen actual A and A+ teams or games ,I can appreciate your enthusiasm ,just not the grades….this was a Stanford team that had what most people would call the 1st or 2nd rated q/b in Pac 12 not play, and an all american left tackle also…nonetheless a great win and much improved coaching created much improved play…Slovis took the job from ‘jt’ even earlier than last night…hellton just refused to acknowledge…he never admits to anything wrong in his thinking,thus he can never learn.

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    3. Disagree:

      Receivers dropped easy passes and caught hard ones. Recievers need to be consistent.

      Coaching: D-: Why is Steepes not playing? That is a man going against boys. Only an idiot who is blind and mute would not play him.

      You forgot Oline, I will giv you my grade.

      Online: B, they gave up a sack and once in a great while they would allow the rb back to be tackled behind the line. However, from last year to this year, they have improved. Is that because of a different line coach, the system, the offense or all of the above. We will see when they play the big boys of nd and Utah on how they are doing.

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      1. Well ‘Old Stick’ I must say your affection for the ‘porcine one’ at bel-air tech is commendable it is indeed sir truly. In most cases there is a need for a great manager/coach and great players = championships ‘but’ periodically’ the talent is so remarkable it trumps the need for the ‘great coach’ i.e. the next tier down is where the real coaching is being done not on top – Miami Hurricanes of the 80’s- 00’s come to mind. Four different head coaches (Howard Schnellenberger (1983), Jimmy Johnson (1987), Dennis Erickson (1989 & 91) and Larry Coker (2001) ) all won NC’s and, save for Johnson, didn’t do much elsewhere. USC is in that same vein but thankfully USC hasn’t cratered the way Miami has or run the ‘con’ the way ‘the princess’ has in So. Bend-IN since 1988.

        If this moves forward beyond all expectations all the more reason to oust Swann before that retard believes he’s the reason and worst gives this poor sap another 5 year extension.

        This is all harrell’s prep and the great name USC has in drawing the players they have ‘but’ our linemen need to be cared for and fast as well as Baxter and why he is still there?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I am in agreement, Alv —- but I think our screwy coaching arrangement might work as long as we have Harrell to energize the troops (and everybody understands that he’s the coach-in-waiting & it’s gonna happen soon—we can’t afford to lose him). As for Baxter—he’s a clever old guy— and he comes to every game with a bag of tricks. But his players aren’t as energized as the players on offense. We might need a younger guy for Special Teams — I hate to throw Baxter under the bus cuz of age but it’s hard for most older coaches to pump younger players up —however clever they are.
        And, although I regard Clancy more highly than many on this blog (and although he’s capable of doing all he has to do this year —which is stop the other team often enough to give our offense the chance to outscore them), think of what we’d have right now if we had Harrell as Offensive Coordinator and Justin Wilcox as Defensive Coordinator…..

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Ouch, MG. Really ouch. UCLA is playing like no upperclassmen so they will improve. Question is, how many wins does the Chipster need for one more year, one more crack at rejuvenating the program.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Arturo –How much longer does Chipster get? Offhand, I’d stays right up till the moment one of players punches him in the mouth.
        #Well,ItHappenedInOakland…..

        Liked by 2 people

      1. My I am sorry suh’ …. you are correct why it would seem my affection for that which once was but, alas, no longer is did indeed bite me in the wrong place. A fond ‘adieu’ to thee oh BCS and a ‘hail fellow well met’ to thee also FBS.

        Now that that is settled I say we sit for tea….oh shall I be ‘mother’?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. if they did all that ,nobody would be fired…it isn’t going to happen but it is a nice thought.
      there are a few roadblocks to surmount…ND , Washington regardless of Cal game, Oregon has a real team this year…and the Utah game has become a real tough one too…thank coach Warner in Ariz for current success, then OC Harrel and Drevno…defense is getting better…but getting a q/b into the line up that can and will move is the biggest difference…jt needs to work out with a track coach and q/b coach to show him what he needs to do when defense is closing in…

      Like

      1. This actually is the team that voters made a top 15 team prior to the opener last year (based on the strength of the year before). And this team was undervalued prior to this season (based on the weaknesses of last year). It takes voters a while to catch up.
        #FightOn

        Liked by 6 people

      2. Take the Trojan performance last night from the last 40 minutes of the game, and I don’t think there are many teams who have beaten them.

        Just need to build on that. It was a totally different team last night.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. 67 — What we saw last night is a team that has the POTENTIAL to play with —-and beat —anybody. Let’s see if they actualize that against Utah. [If they do, I don’t think anyone can stop them]…..

        Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re absolutely right. What matters is what we saw on the field —a team that believed in itself and played to win. I don’t want to knock Helton today —he deserves some credit —BUT —-at his presser he said he felt it would be “devastating” if Stanford took that Jones fumble & turned it into a TD. That is NOT the way Harrell was looking at it —and it wasn’t the way Slovis was looking at it. Harrell’s confidence is starting to energize the troops –he believes.
        On a separate note —please recall the Baxter interview. He’s smart. He’s charming. I can see why Helton likes him. But we need Harrell-like energy on Special Teams too. Not spots of brilliance —but 60 minutes of focused energy.

        Liked by 4 people

      1. That would be so cool, Arturo. Let’s see what happens with Utah. They get a cakewalk while we’re playing away at BYU….. before meeting them on a short week….
        #..MoreBullSh*tPac12Scheduling….
        #[ButIfHarrell’sBunchCanOvercomeTheBullsh*t…Sky’sTheLimit]

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pudly —I’d ask you to give out your Hotline # —but I fear that the people calling wouldn’t be calling in order to be “talked off the edge”…..
        #ForFunLet’sGiveOutChip’sPhone#…
        #btw,Where’sCal75–HeShouldBeCelebrating!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. USC ranked 24 by AP poll. As I predicted we will be 5-0 going into South Bend. Kudos to Clay Helton for bringing in Harrell, Arasmus, Coach K, Burns and making Drevno o–line coach. Drevno, Harrell and Coach K are all experienced at coaching 2-3 star players into 4 stars. Kudos to Arasmus for creating the foundation for teamwork and the energy reserve that the team could fall back on during tough times.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Utah’s gonna be a huge test …on a short week after a trip to BYU. But other than that, I think your prediction is perfectly justified….
      #….And,BTW,We’llBeatTheIrishAtSouthBend…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s what we did some 12+ years ago…. we didn’t care who or where or when in fact it was our arrival that brought fear to the opponent in their home stadium but it also packed their stadiums to hoping for an ‘upset’.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Here is a caveat to your caveat, SW: All of those QBs debuted as True Freshmen against non-power 5 opponents (Fresno St. San Jose St., etc) while Clovis debuted against an arch rival, against a team that has been a thorn in their side, the Geeky Trees from Stanford. Huge Difference.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The writers and coaches showed their joint respect for USC raising them a full 14 slots in both polls – 24th in both polls. Mike is right about Helton’s comment on Stanford if they had turned the Velus Jones into a TD. Helton has no foresight, he can’t conceive of anything to change or accommodate or anticipate in the 2nd half of any game. He will always be this way and yes, there are moments upcoming when he will overrule a good assistant coach with some awful move that detonates the team if only to prove to the rest of us ‘he’ (Helton) is the reason for success.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wolf, people might want to come in here and criticize you today, but I’m not one of them. In fact, I want to give you a compliment… You have made a career out of getting people to give you money to write about something you know absolutely nothing about. No criticism from me, that’s a lovely little hustle you got. Saying you’re not a football person isn’t criticism, it’s just the plain truth. Keep pimpin’ bro…

    It’s funny the way the tide of the comments swings so wildly back and forth around me. It makes me look like a rah rah normally, but now that people see a little more about what I’ve been talking about, it’s going to swing in the other direction and have me coming off like a hater. I haven’t moved. (BTW, this very thing happens in the political world. The answers are never at the extremes, they’re somewhere in the middle. We don’t know exactly where and that’s the rub, but it’s in there somewhere) I’m still where I was when KK was hired and before he bullshitted. I am where I was when we got Harrell and his offense as a replacement again, after KK bullshitted. Where was I? I was expecting a Pac 12 Championship and I’m still there. I swear I would dig in the crates and produce the post if I didn’t want to use the time and space to talk about more important things.

    The reason I’m now going to be turned into a hater is because you guys are now going turn Kedon into the second coming. Also, you’re going to get too happy too soon about the team and I have to push back against all of that. Not only that, but I have some harsh criticism for a player in particular. The criticism I had last week for Pittman and Vaughns was constructive, because they have it and I want to see them exploit it to their full advantage, unlike some do. But if I KNOW a player just doesn’t have it I have to say that too, but it doesn’t feel the same. I was cool ripping TV and MP and I’ll be happy to do it again if warranted, but I feel bad for what I would say about Velus Jones. Before I give what is just one guy’s opinion about Velus as a football player and not a man, I would tell all the players the following: If I say something about you and you know I’m right, then fix it. If I say something and you think I’m wrong, then show you’re right. I’ll see it and tell you I was wrong, I promise.

    With that said, Velus Jones… I know there was some transfer issue with you, and maybe coach talked to you and promised you a role on the team or something. It’s the coach’s job to protect the program and coaches have a hard time laying off of speed generally, it’s seductive. Some guys are just really fast and all they are is just really fast. It’s not effective or adaptable speed on the football field. Speed by itself is nothing if you aren’t a “football player.” I would be scared to death to block for you on kick return (not that I would’ve been) because I know on an all too regular basis, you would be running right the F into my back or side or something! What are you seeing and thinking out there?? You’re supposed to run where they ain’t, not where they are and then run right the F into them!! I been watching you do this since you got here and it’s the most confusing thing to me. A real playmaker fiends for daylight, for space and for green grass. That’s why they develop VISION, MOVES and CREATIVITY, because at their core – in their souls, they are DESPERATE FOR DAYLIGHT. It’s a real thing that you feel when you just NEED to get free and run away from EVERYONE. I know you don’t know what I’m talking about or you wouldn’t be running right the F into people like you do. …And now you want to add a fumble twist to the routine? Oh hell no. You also have bad feet and I’m not going to try to explain that here, but it makes you stiff and incapable of the fluidity and balance you need to be a good runner. I know you have a KR this year, I saw it. I also saw the BIG ASS hole you had to run through and that’s the kind of hole you need in order to get over. There are a GANG of “football players” on this team who could do the job better and it’s kind of suspicious to me that you have it. I notice you really don’t get much play in the WR rotation but I’m not confused as to why you don’t. Look, I AM passionate about it and a little bit colorful and expressive, but I don’t have anything against you as a person. I’m just looking for “football players” and I don’t see one in you. If you can really burn like they say, then you should probably go see coach Gilbert or something. Try to develop that straight line speed and see if you can have it serve you in some way, but it’s not useful in this application. I’ve seen enough of that BS and you’ve been here for awhile now doing it. You don’t have it bro.

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  7. I’ve said before the I like JT’s arm and the ball he throws. At this point, I have to say I like the man himself now. JT Daniels is a character guy and I have but respect for the way he’s helping the team. I fully expect you to get after rehab hard when it starts and I expect to see you competing to get your job back. You’re going to give your coaches a tough problem, but it’ll be a good one to have. You’re a good one to have. Way to be, JT.

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  8. So after having the benefit of watching the game again, I can say the game definitely turned on one play. Kedon ran for the second time during the game and didn’t slide. It was a decisive move without the whimpy slide attached.
    Suddenly the line started holding their end of the bargain and the receivers stopped dropping passes. It was as if a switch had been thrown.
    I want to see this team again.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I still think that J.T. is an outstanding QB. But he doesn’t seem to be that charismatic a personality. The players don’t rally around him like they do the other QB’s. That’s just speculation because, personally, I don’t know the kid. But from just watching him on the sidelines, he doesn’t seem to be that much of a people person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s probably some truth to what you’re saying and I don’t discount the importance of team chemistry, but what the kids want isn’t necessarily the right choice. I was on a 4×100 relay team in high school and legs 1, 3 and 4 were set. We had to decide who the 2nd leg would be between 2 guys, one of them wasn’t on the football team like the rest of us but he was actually faster than the one who was. You know which guy we wanted? The guy on the football team that we hung out and partied with, not the guy who was faster. Players want what they want and a coach is there to do what’s needed.

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