USC Morning Buzz: Past Offensive Lines A Reminder Of Pressure In 2020

We could talk all day about the best tailbacks in USC history. But the truth is many of them were blessed with a fantastic offensive line.

Just a couple random things I came across this week:

Look at USC’s starting offensive line in 1980.

This is a randomly selected offensive line. That’s four All-Americans (Don Mosebar, Bruce Matthews, Ray Foster, Keith Van Horne). And center Allen Pugh was honorable mention all conference.

Then I randomly came across this newspaper article from 1978.

Pat Howell was an All-American, obviously.

I’ll bring it back to 2020. USC’s offensive line is the biggest question mark. Alijah Vera-Tucker is the best lineman but is moving from guard to left tackle. After that it’s a wildly inconsistent group. Can they protect Kedon Slovis, let alone block for the tailbacks?

The dominant USC teams started with excellent offensive linemen. This is where USC needs to focus this season because it cannot afford to play three QBs if JT Daniels goes to Washington or Michigan.

This was the first-team O-line to start the only spring practice: Left tackle Vera-Tucker, Left guard Justin Dedich, Center Brett Neilon, Right guard Liam Jimmons, Right tackle Jason Rodriguez.

19 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Past Offensive Lines A Reminder Of Pressure In 2020

  1. I see on Twitter the fb dept is chattin’ up something bout the o-line tradition continuing. Sure I suppose technically it is continuing, but I always thought part of the brag was the number & quality of dudes we sent to Sundays. More smoke & mirrors hoping fans don’t know the difference between the occasional late rounder under Clam and the frequent first couple rnds under PC, JR, JM and most points in between. The history this staff is trying to leverage doesn’t do shit for today’s players. The way I see it: if cch is gonna parade his ass like Gen Schwarzkopf in front of the camera talking bout how good his signing classes have been (prior to this last year of course) then he should also face the firing squad and explain how those dynamite classes will most likely result in a whole entire two dudes (AJ & MP) getting drafted. I mean ain’t the draft ultimate determinant on how good player dev is??


  2. The problem is still the same; a coach who sticks to bad decisions no matter how bad they prove to be. If this were not true we wouldn’t have seen Toa for more than one bad snap. We wouldn’t have waited so long to see Sam Darnold. We wouldn’t have seen so many false starts committed by the same tackle.
    I could go on but I’ll step aside and let your mind fill in the rest- my thumb is getting tired.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Clay Helton is going into his 5th season running the team, and it took him three years to recognize that Neil Callaway was a lousy coach, who didn’t develop players. NFL coaches have been complaining about college offensive lineman not being physical, because they don’t run the ball in spread offenses. So this will definitely be the year, that Helton’s buffoonery will finally reflect the program, and Kedon Slovis better tighten up his chinstrap .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to see that Vera-Tucker is moved to Left Tackle. Neilon is a good dude, great work ethic, and he should perform well.

    But that 1980 O-line…wow…Apologies to QB Adams, but with a different QB, that team should have been undefeated. The offense really underperformed with the exception of the Cal game.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Ha! Michael, with Darnold behind that line, we could have broken into triple figures against Cal…(apologies to our friend Cal75). As it was, we scored 60 against the Bears that game.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Pascal in The Big Night: “It is never too much —it is not enough!”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s more. We had RBs, TEs, FBs that could block their asses off as well as run and catch. This pansy waist 7 on 7 fb we’re playing isn’t built around blocking, physicality.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Pete Carroll utilized the TE & FB positions for blocking purposes as well as offensive weapons.

    Kiffin, Sarkisian and Helton used the TE as a decoy and you never saw them bring in a FB to help block in any situation.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those RPO style offenses were mostly in high school during Carrolls years at USC, where Carroll/Chow ran a west coast type offense.
      You can call Sark and Kiffin idiots, but Carroll was in charge when they were his offensive coordinators. I never saw him chew them out like Saban has.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. As Sam says at end, “it helps when you play as a unit.”
      [It also helps when your QB’s first pass goes for a TD and your secondary knows how to catch tipped balls]……


  7. Bring in a FB like Stanley Havili to help on pass protection and you can slip him out of the backfield and hit him with a pass down the sideline for big gains as seen in this video where Havili scores the Trojans first TD

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dominique Byrd USC TE

    Utilize the position correctly and it pays big dividens, making the defense have to account for whoever plays the position.

    Carroll had a few Mackey Award winners

    Great one handed catch by Byrd for a TD

    Liked by 1 person

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