Morning Buzz: Is USC’s Offense Too Easy To Figure Out?

Is USC’s offense too easy to figure out?

Fox analyst Brock Huard made a comment about knowing where the ball was going based on the formation.

And remember what I wrote back in March after I spoke to an NFL scout who watched North Texas practices (where Graham Harrell coached).

“They definitely want to throw the ball so the defense has to dare them to run,” the scout said. “Your alignment can force them to run.”

“This is what Washington has done in recent years against Washington State, which includes a three-man front and eight players dropping back in pass coverage.”

I just read the comments to that post and of course the first guy says USC will beat Washington in 2019. And another complains that dropping 8 guys back is no “magic bullet” and “it’s hard to cover fast guys in space.”

Will these guys show contrition today? Doubtful.

  • Huard also mentioned USC had two plays over 40 yards and Washington gave up only one last season.

But here’s the thing: Washington lost nine defensive starters from last season. So I don’t think that’s too big a deal against a defense that started at least two true freshmen in the secondary.

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74 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: Is USC’s Offense Too Easy To Figure Out?

      1. Sears is a mile better than Fink —when it comes to football. But Fink was several miles ahead of Sears in the battle for Helton’s love.
        #AndThat,MyFriend,IsHowHeltonRolls…..

        Liked by 4 people

      2. karma —Harrell answers Scott’s question with, “We don’t care if everybody figures out our offense —-we practice it more than they practice defending it.”
        #OnlyProblem?
        #TheyPracticeDefendingItInPhysicalPractices…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. @ MG

        You got that right. There is some underlying story with Sears and Helton, for some reason Helton just didn’t like him no matter what he said after the kid left. I don’t know if it was the fact that if Sears was #2 and if got in a game and he played better than Daniels how would that look ? Was it a personality conflict ? The kid showed what he could do, under very limited conditions, in practice, he played well in the only game he played in. I know Harrell didn’t like Sears taking off and giving up on the pass, supposedly, but what the hell, you bury a QB for trying to make a play ? There is a lot more to this and we’ll never know what it was because, as you say, Helton won’t tell the truth.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Helton is the worst kind of coach. He’s afraid to be challenged, doesn’t know his limitations, showers his players with the weirdest passive/aggressive love since “Sleeping With the Enemy” and refuses to change (cuz he’s convinced himself that nobody sees things as clearly as he does —-even though he gets his ass kicked a lot).

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Running the ball isn’t in Gomer’s or Opie’s DNA, they just won’t do it even if the defense had 1 guy on the DL.

    Every team that USC plays that has a decent defense and a DC & head coach with a brain will drop 8 and dare these two hillbillies to run, which they won’t.

    You know Gomer is a moron when he has Stepp as 3rd string, the kid can only pray that Gomer gets canned so his true talent can be showcased next year

    Liked by 5 people

    1. MG and I like to reminisce about the McKay era teams…not playing Stepp is like McKay not using Cunningham much as a runner (other than to torment Woody Hayes in the Rose Bowl)…the difference being that McKay said afterwards that “he was the greatest player I ever tried to ruin,” whereas Helton trots out his lame excuses about “working on not putting the ball on the ground”…

      Liked by 5 people

      1. James —One day Helton will discover what Matisse called, “The beauty of telling the truth”……
        #…ButHe’llBeCoachingAtAllGirlsHighSchool

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Buddha:
      Exactly right. Makes me think of watching the Chargers/Missing Ring documentary – the segment where Hank Bauer is recounting what that offense was like once they added Chuck Muncie (he says in effect “pick your poison…you want to drop 8? fine? you want to blitz? fine? you want to be stupid and play press coverage? fine…”). And it’s why you have balance (which became a dirty word when used by Helton, and rightfully so…who doesn’t get that 0 rushing and 0 passing is balanced)…you have everything in the tool box you need, of the highest caliber, which is something you can only have at about 6-8 programs in the nation on a consistent basis – and you are at one of them! – so that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, based on whatever you need…
      Dan Weber refers back to the – I think – it was the 2005 game at ASU where Leinart got banged up, and USC was trailing 21-3 in what is historically a snakepit…and they had the answer – Lendale White (just like Reggie Bush was the answer that same year at South Bend when White wasn’t quick enough, or Jarrett was the answer in the Rose Bowl a year later coming off the UCLA debacle where the left tackle – Radovich? – couldn’t block an edge rusher)…at USC you don’t have to resort to gimmicks, or being limited to either/or…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. MG
        You familiar with this documentary? The whole series is awesome (the America’s Game/Super Bowl champions told by the players and coaches)…that Chargers one is extremely relevant, as it is one of the key puzzle pieces of the evolution of offensive football – that (reads, timing patterns, pocket QB) is the model that JT was made for (largely still used by the Patriots with Brady)…it’s been updated, but as pointed out by Kellen Winslow Sr. in that documentary, the guts of the offense, as elaborated on by Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, and Earnie Zampese, is still the basis of the modern passing attacks (particularly Walsh with the short, quick patterns, executed by mobile, athletic QBs), now updated with the single wing aspects that are so dangerous with someone like a Mahomes running it…that Chargers team had 3 perennial All-Pros in the offensive line (Washington, Wilkerson, and White)…and Fouts usually had a solid pocket, plus once they acquired Muncie (Stepp has such a similar package of size and explosive speed)…worth 30 minutes…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. MG
        Not hard to find – should be on YouTube (it’s a series called “America’s Game” – done by NFL Films – it ranks the Super Bowl champions and provides a story of the season told by players and coaches…and they did one called “The Missing Ring” for the Air Coryell Chargers)…some are better than others…I’m sure that’s entirely subjective…but I would start with the #1 1972 Dolphins – listen to Larry Csonka and Don Shula for a couple of minutes…watch the ones about the Steelers (to include Lynn Swann, but especially Joe Greene in 1974)…the Raiders (my favorite is listening to Howie Long and Marcus Allen in 1983, but Matt Millen is really entertaining in 1980, as is Phil Villapiano in 1976)…and on and on…the Chargers Missing Ring, the 49ers 1981 are highly relevant for modern offense…and the 1990 Giants and 2001 Patriots feature Bill Bilicheck (the 90 one of course also features his master Parcells)…great insight into defense (e.g. how do you stop an unstoppable QB? Beat the $#!+ out of the receivers…and have your offense hog the ball for 40+ minutes)…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. James —
        Great finds. Marcus Allen is always worth listening to. [I got plenty more to go—looking forward to Parcells].
        Did you love it as much as I did when Marcus spoke to Helton’s first team and told them “We have a special brand of football here at USC —it’s called ”we kick your ass'”……
        #IfOnly….

        Liked by 2 people

      4. MG

        You know it…and it stands to reason…he played on what I’d argue were the most talented teams in the history of college football…when you have Mosebar and Matthews, even if young, not touching the field on your offensive line…and Marcus Allen has to play fullback…

        Did you love the part about how Ted Hendricks would get pissed off and yell “Give the ball to Marcus!”?

        Howie Long really stands out on that one for me – for a variety of reasons…

        Liked by 2 people

      5. MG
        Perfect characterization by you – what a package, and driven…
        Biggest thing to come out of that series is the attitude of the players, and the atmosphere created by the coaches…why I recommended it to you…
        The Csonka ’72 Dolphins one (and if/when you watch it’s ’73 sequel with Bob Kuchenberg describing how his relentless blocking caused Alan Page, his old Notre Dame teammate, to get so frustrated that he got himself ejected from a Super Bowl…NFL MVP and future Judge Alan Page no less!) is my favorite – it just oozes attitude and everything right about football, sports, competition…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Damn you, James. I got stuff to do —but now I’m gonna be watching these GREAT interviews all day. A lot of these guys are seriously crazy (in the best fricking sense possible). They LOVE the game, They LOVE their teammates and they LOVE the memories of what they accomplished. What Helton has selfishly done to this team with all his self promotion and duplicity and bullshit is steal the possibility of accomplishment and memories from a bunch of great young men who COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Yes, addictive…and a sort of fat free substitute for this down time…that passion those champions exude…that’s what USC football was about, and hopefully will be again…Dr. Folt, over to you…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s too easy as it stands, but wouldn’t be if:

    1) The quarterback were both mobile and creative (in conjunction with athletic receivers), or
    2) The offensive line was 1979/2005 quality (it of course isn’t), and
    3) In either of the aforementioned, orchestrated by a playcaller with an overall plan and sufficient flexibility to add plays/sequences designed to punish teams that either overload the box or flood the zones…

    Sounds like I’m describing common sense? Exactly…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. James –Helton would respond to #3 (“plays orchestrated by playcaller with a coherent battle plan and flexibility to adjust to situations”) with the following words, “Yeah! That’s just what they’d expect a smart coach to do —I’m not falling for it!”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. James —
        In some ways, Helton reminds me of the loony pilot in the comedy “Airplane” who refuses to land his plane in a well lit airport because “that’s exactly what they EXPECT me to do!”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, James — Poor Coach Helton reminds us of the protagonists in so many screwball comedies —At War With the Army, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Man With Two Brains, (and) This is the End ……

        Liked by 1 person

      3. MG
        This isn’t exactly right, but he also reminds me of Ned Beatty as Otis under Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor in Superman…maybe both rolled into one?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Not true. Scott has posted a lovely photo of Clay—with mouth mostly closed — smiling on sidelines….
      #…UnfortunatelyIt’sScarierThanTheMouthAgapeOne….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rushing = 26 carries for 206 yards, no fumbles.

    Passing = 19/32, 163 yards, 3 interceptions, 1 TD

    It was clear what to do – run the ball – Stepp should have had close to 20 carries. He had 10 for 62 yards. And when he is in, they know that he will be running the ball between the tackles. Still, he gets his yards.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Why not 30 carries for Stepp ?

      And…. if you run Stepp and they start playing for the run, guess what, you can pass even easier !!! It’s called running to set up the pass !!!!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah…hopefully without offending anyone’s religious sensibilities…he does kind of come off as a self-flagellating cultist, so the flogging would be ignored…as for the football advice…yeah, he sure does seem like LIttle Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy who keeps wanting to the wrong thing while Rocket Raccoon (us I guess) yell at him “No, not that…the other thing!” At least Little Groot was cute and well-intentioned…along this line of thinking, can we please have one of the hyper successful evil villains (Kurt Russell would be ideal) to restore our fortunes?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. James —No! Not Kurt Russell! He didn’t stand up to his castrating wife and back up Brad Pitt in “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”….
        #SomeThingsCan’tBeForgiven….

        Liked by 1 person

      1. MG- even at the Pop Warner level I learned this: you never get tired of run blocking. Never. As far as injuries, none of the backs have been overused or overworked making that excuse toothless. You are right though, Helton would try and spin it something weird.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Arturo — You’re right —but the [former] Master of Weird Spin was The Swann: “Everyone knows that after several weak recruiting classes it’s going to take a few years to get back…”
        #WasHeReferringTo3Top5ClassesInARow?

        Liked by 2 people

  4. The answer to your question is, has that bullshit offense ever won a national championship? ….. NOT!! And it never will, no matter how many great athletes you have on the roster. Weak recruiting programs opt for pass the happy nonsense , because it’s easier to get decent skilled players, then it is dominating lineman.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Entirely correct about it largely being about how much easier it is to find a single difference making skill position player (particularly a QB/pivot)…but it’s also much easier to let that single player to execute each play with the right to improvise at will, than to recruit the large athletic lineman and hire a coach to coach them as individuals (to include strength-training) and moreover as an ensemble (can’t name too many linemen for the Patriots over the past two decades…but know they are universally renowned for having had the best offensive lines year in and year out…they execute a system of blocking as a 5 person unit, not as 5 individuals)…much easier to get one instinctive, athletic player…and if you’re “Lesser Program U.” that makes complete sense…but as we all know, is completely unnecessary and ridiculous at USC…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Helton is a lot like the NCAA in that he can’t or shouldn’t govern himself. He has been given plenty of opportunities to rectify mistakes, however, the blind spot(s) are too much to overcome for him and his staff.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Helton is far from the “worst coach in college football” — and to Wanda Austin that passed for high praise. The problem with Helton is that when he has a blind spot, it’s a doozy. Toa was a doozy. Baxter (in his present fat and happy state) is a doozy. Helton’s contempt for Sears (probably for talking back or rolling his eyes) is a DOOZY.
      #AndItAllAddsUpTo…..
      #ChasingTheMythicalCaliforniaChampionshipYearAfterYear….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Maybe we need to call it something other than blind spot. Blind crater? Blind rash? Blind albatross? Western Kentucky Spot? Spot so big everyone in the stadium can see it but you?

        #???

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I could name several on SC alone (Drake Jackson, Aman – Ra, Pittman, maybe Kedon). Across college football? A ton of them.

        Like

  6. If Helton loses to Notre Dame and UCLA god help us if he returns. Arizona state has a very good chance agsinst us as well. 8-4 looks like the best we can do. 7-5 gets us into the Cheezit bowl with the best athletes in the Pac12

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They need to get blown out by Notre Dame. I freaking hate having to root for a loss. It is just that nothing else will cause enough noise for his firing to happen. I dread the following and likely scenario: USC football is competitive the rest of their games, wins a few, loses some big time recruits, signs a couple of those big timers making the descent even more painful and slower.

      #agony

      Liked by 2 people

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