It feels like a lot of people are making Matt Fink a scapegoat but they don’t ask if Graham Harrell aka Eb Dawson did a good job making the game plan easier for Fink’s first road trip? Kedon Slovis also had three interceptions in his road debut but he got more slack because fans want him to be the long-term answer. A better game plan would have limited Fink’s mistakes. Harrell should know better after going through a first road game with Slovis two weeks earlier.
Is Stephen Carr back after that 60-yard run? I’m not sure because that hole was huge. “Ronald Jones would have had a touchdown,” a coach remarked. The truth is if you take away Carr’s run and a 35-yard run from Markese Stepp, USC rushed for only 117 yards against a mostly three-man front.
Not much of a day for the receivers against that 8-man secondary other Michael Pittman‘s 44-yard TD vs. a rare man coverage. Amon-Ra St. Brown cannot be happy with how this season is turning out, especially with all the offseason hype regarding the Air Raid.
Most of the day was spent facing a three-man front but it wasn’t a dominating performance. USC couldn’t pound the ball into the end zone in the fourth quarter and Fink was harried any time more than three defenders rushed the QB. It was also a bad look when Drew Richmond seemed to blame Fink for a false start.
The defensive tackles take up a lot of space but still don’t make enough plays when you consider they are the strongest unit on the team. Watch Marlon Tuipulotu get pushed backwards on the 89-yard TD. They only sacked Jacob Eason once and even Drake Jackson did not stand out.
I see a lot of flying around but nothing leads me to believe they actually influence a game. John Houston is an undersized middle linebacker, which is not his fault because Clancy Pendergast plays him out of position. Palaie Gaoteote flies around the field but activity does not equal accomplishment. Even worse, what do the other “linebackers” do? Very little.
Did you see the angle safety Isaiah Pola-Mao took on the 89-yard TD run? Not to mention the missed tackle by Chase Williams. Pola-Mao missed even more tackles throughout the game. I’ve mentioned previously that Talanoa Hufanga celebrates too much and even out of uniform he cost the Trojans a penalty.
The first two punts of Ben Griffiths were 24-and-35 yards. He got better and finally unleashed a 54-yarder. The bar is so low that the fact the special teams did not have a joke play is considered a positive. What is John Baxter doing to improve returns?
This was Exhibit A of one sideline outcoaching the other sideline. Washington defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake looked like he was having a blast facing the Air Raid. Meanwhile, USC offensive coordinator Eb Dawson sits in the pressbox and stubbornly tries to call the same plays even though they don’t work when 8-men drop back. Like I said, did he ever try to make things easier for Matt Fink?
Meanwhile, Clay Helton, the CEO of discipline and penalties, failed on both counts. He had the nerve in spring practice to claim USC had one penalty in 200 plays. Who cares? It’s spring. It wasn’t Husky Stadium, where USC had eight penalties Saturday.