An Obvious Fact Arises At USC Spring Practice

What a shock the offensive line struggled today in scrimmage-like situations against the defense.

Well, not really. But then again, four starters return. So should they get dominated? The alibi will be that they are learning a new system from offensive line coach Clay McGuire.

But that ignores the real limitations from this group. It will be a team weakness next season, no matter what.

53 thoughts on “An Obvious Fact Arises At USC Spring Practice

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  1. Not an apologist for the o-line, but if the o-line was “dominated”, then maybe the d-line is pretty good and very familiar with the plays.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We won’t really know the score, offensive-line-wise, until Sept 4th (San Jose) or, at the latest, Sept 11th (Stanford). If we can’t better our Pac 12 “championship game” numbers (a little over 3 yards a carry and 5 QB sacks]—-we are officially in trouble.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I just checked —USC averaged 1.4 yards a rush (!) ….for a total of 38 yards. [3 yds a carry woulda been a LOT for us —I musta been thinking of the Washington State game]…..
        #Harrell:NeedToImproveOnThatOnePointFourYardsThing…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Look, when Adoree Jackson was at USC he invigorated the offensive line because of his speed and craftiness. The linemen only had to do brush blocks and not knock down their opposing defensive linemen. Something like this could occur again if SC installs speed in the backfield (Kenan Christon, Ingram) and devises some trick or deceptive plays to take advantage of that speed. The linemen will be plodders if the backs are plodders. With all the talk about toughness, it can only be realized by a running game, not the pitch and catch offense SC currently has.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Last year’s running game was about the worst since Petros was in the backfield in his senior year. I think he averaged less than 2 yards per carry.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, 67. I just looked at the Box Score for the Dec 18th Oregon/USC game. 1.4 yards per carry! Against a substandard Oregon team!
        #btw,ILikedWatchingPetrosSacrificeHisBodyAtTheGoal

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m hoping that you kings (Guarino, PUDLY, 1967) will remember the RB Sonny Bird? I’m hoping to expand interest this season and this blog. I’m hoping that you will permit me an idea. A raffle for the upcoming termination of the USC football Coach $5.00 for a selection i.e. ( one could be after week 3 or he doesn’t get fired G- D forbid) gift cards for the winner or the winner decides to what charity the money goes too. I’m hoping that one of you guys will be the gatekeeper of Thee Blog to Dream ( a stupid idea to promote fan unity. I’m hoping that Scott will eat it up more traffic for the most fascinating newsletter ( sarcasm never hurts?) opinions are truly welcome and appreciated. More ideas to come?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Bobby —
        What a grand idea!
        I’ll spring for a free bike for the person who can guess the exact date Helton gets fired.
        Entries begin now.
        [Bonus: Free helmet if winner also guesses the exact words of Helton’s ‘Parting Statement’]…….
        #I’mHopingItIncludesReferenceTo’PathOfRighteousness’…
        #[..WhichItProbablyWillSinceCarolWillWriteItForHim]

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Wayne, you are living in an alternate dimension.

      I’ve had lots of drinks tonight, but even I can discern that you are hoping for a very unlikely outcome.

      A running back invigorating the offensive line is about as likely as Clay becoming an effective, enlightened, good head coach.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Look, this is the same head coach that has lied for several years about everything; the same that turned down a good Bowl game last so he would not be embarrassed AGAIN;the same ,the same,the same…is Learning from the past completely dead in this country? of course it is…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. No surprises here. The defense being ahead of the offense happens every spring and isn’t particular to ‘SC either. You’ll see the same thing at other schools around the country.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Question is when does the offensive side of the ball decide they want to keep their lunch money and stand up and fight back… you’re right tho, defense is much less complicated and it’s easier to just light your hair on fire and go.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Pudly,
        Here’s Clay Helton explaining his personal philosophy —grounded in personal experience —to the O-Line: “There’ll always be plenty of lunch money —it’ll never run out —no matter what you do or how much you lose —it’ll keep coming.”
        #”NothingToWorryAbout…
        #…ItsAllGood!”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Do the Trojans O-linemen have the lower body strength? Below is from a Mike Tomlin interview, who talks about the diffs between ran and pass blocking:

        Q. What, if any, are the differences in fundamentals and technique that offensive linemen use when they pass block vs. when they run block?
        A. It’s all lower body in the running game. It’s all in the knees and ankles. It’s pad level. It’s gaining real estate. It’s very different in the passing game.

        When you get a rookie offensive lineman, generally speaking, is he better at run blocking or pass blocking?
        A. It really depends on the program you get them from. You go get a Wisconsin offensive lineman, for example, you know the reputation of that program. And so it’s really about the program itself and not necessarily the level of play. Certain programs are geared toward run-oriented offenses, and some are spread and they throw it every down.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yesterday was a “run heavy” practice and that in itself is a positive. You can’t get better and correct mistakes if you don’t work on them and learn their weaknesses. I’ve heard that McQuire has been all over the Oline like stink on owns… hope it works out. It is early April still.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Very instructive quotes —particularly the “reputation of the program” stuff. I say that cuz it’s “the reputation of the program” that’s preventing us from recruiting first magnitude O-Lineman. We can say whatever we want about Helton’s “new” approach to the run game and the importance of the o-line….but…. recruiting success is the true metric. Word is out. If you want to develop as an offensive lineman, there are better programs to hone your skills.
        This probably should be chalked up as just another of my exotic opinions —but I blame the new & lavish training facilities for the nonchalant attitude of our lineman. Ever since the food machines and the cushy sofas and the one- per- player- Jacuzzis were installed — I’ve seen (or imagined) the loss of swagger along both lines.
        #GoBackToTheOld,DilapidatedWeightRoom…Now!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. So there’s a very real possibility that AVT goes in the first round this year and that would make 2 first round picks in consecutive yrs for this class of recruits. Does that say anything?

        Liked by 2 people

      6. A while back, I got some orthotics fitted by the fellow who makes them for many of the Clippers. He said that their strength and conditioning trainers had completely changed how they were training the players. They were using almost all band-type exercises, as they found traditional weight training was leading to too many injuries. Granted, this is for hoops players, but fingers crossed the USC staff is up on the new research findings.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. Pudly — There is hope. Let’s see if it’s illusory or not.
        Now, may I play Doctor Frankenstein (as interpreted by Gene Wilder) to our friend Owns? “This is a nice boy. This is a good boy. And I want the world to know that we love him.”
        #”MyNameIsFrankenstein!”

        Liked by 2 people

      8. 67—
        Let’s go old school. Rocky style. Living in a cabin on top of a mountain. Chopping down trees. Lifting horse carts. No women for miles.
        #NeverUnderestimateTheSemenRetentionProgram
        #[ItWorksForClayHelton]

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Pudly —AVT point well taken. [I personally will always wonder if he could have gotten better —like ready for Notre Dame or Oregon better] if he got coached by other than the ONCE red hot Tim Drevno].

        Liked by 2 people

      10. I’m thinking Courtland Ford could be another future first rounder. The youtube video that Pudly posted a couple of months back shows the guy is extremely strong and agile and he has a great attitude.

        Liked by 2 people

      11. 67 — The semen retention program always gets rave reviews —except for the one year I coached soccer back in the day.
        #ITriedToExplainToTheParentsItDidn’tApplyToThem

        Liked by 2 people

      12. Yep! If he stays healthy, Ford is the difference maker who could make THE difference. We had a guy in the Rose Bowl —I apologize for not remembering his name — who brought energy and attitude back to the o-line pretty much ALL by himself.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Folks……….our offensive staff all come from passing offensives- North Texas, Texas Tech, and Memphis where they gave us this highly qualified qb coach. Our coaches only know the “passing game”, and think going 6 and 5 or 7 and 5 is a tremendous season.

    Other than a few great games from Ronald Jones our running game has been non-existent since Helton came here, and now Wonder Boy Harrell has put the icing on the cake.

    Our offensive lineman look big in pictures, but are slow non-athletes.

    We need to bring the fullback back in the offense, and use the tight ends. None of these offensive lineman we have now would even make the team in the Mckay and Carroll era. As far as the running backs we lack speed other than Kenan Christon who should start since we need a breakaway/ take it to the house back. All our other backs are more fullback types, and we just don’t have the lineman anymore to grind it out 3-4 yards a carry on a consistent basis to move the chains.

    Destroy the air raid or don’t dream about having a running game or a winning program again. Last time I checked I don’t remember too many air raid teams making it even to a major bowl. Don’t tell me Oklahoma is a complete air raid team they run the ball, and have balance so it is a partial air raid at best.

    2021 Pac 12 South Predictions; Please explain how USC is going to win the Pac 12 South with such a poor offensive line, and maybe the defense will be improved but it won’t be enough.
    I say stay at home don’t support the program in person until they get rid of UNCLE FESTER-Clay Helton. If you looking to repeat history, or relive fond USC football memories of the past go to You Tube, Heritage Hall, or visit the College Football Hall of Fame.

    1) Arizona State
    2) Utah
    3) UCLA or USC- ( I hope UCLA so Helton will be finally fired)
    4) Colorado
    5) Arizona

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m more optimistic than that, tommyd —but I’d feel better if we weren’t playing Arizona State in their home stadium…..
      #..ButIt’sInNovember….Their SkinnyQBCouldBeOutByThen

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Ingram is also fast (sub 4.5), he averaged about 5.5 yards per carry at TX, so I hope he and Christon get carries, but with Harrell’s spread, it seems the backs are graded just as much on pass catching and pass blocking as running the ball. Need to coach up Ingram and Christon if that is where they need help. We love VM but unfortunately he is not a first-tier ball carrier.

      A while back I posted two videos, one of Kedon Slovis highlights and one of Mack Jones (‘Bama) highlights, so it each video was a bunch of plays in which you could watch each team’s pass blocking. What I noticed is that Jones had about a second more to throw than Slovis, which is significant. USC run game averaged something like 3.2 yards per carry, so hopefully Harrell understands that has to improve a lot if the offense is to be successful (and to keep Slovis from getting hurt).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. May I deliver a Pete Carroll-type line? If the line just believes in it’s mission a LITTLE more (i.e., if each player on the line can just get a LITTLE more jacked up about doing his job EVERY play), they’ll be able to hold off the defenders for a lousy additional second….

        Liked by 2 people

      2. If they can run, the defense will have to slow their roll a bit just to make sure they don’t get beat. The run game is the best way to slow the pass rush. IMO

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Don’t discount Brandon Campbell getting reps this season. He sat out this year of high school football to workout with professional strength and speed guys and has been mostly forgotten about in all the recruiting rankings. But he’s a stud and has good speed.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Pudly –Thanks for the video. Brandon is a FOOTBALL PLAYER!
        Ok, it’s a highlight video —but there’s lots to like about his ballsy style.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Campbell is what I would call an Oregon-type back (the kind they tend to recruit). Short, low center of gravity, great acceleration and shifty. His SPARQ score was second highest in class of ’21 (combo of speed, agility, quickness, vert, etc.). So we have lots of talent among the RBs.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. There is alot of negativity for a program that is making significant improvements. Is it a national championship contender? No. But there are alot of good things happening.

      More physical practices are real. We should thank TO and the defensive staff coaches he brought it. Harrell and Helton were forced into this.

      Defensive unit is real solid, led by a defensive line that will be stout (barring major injuries). Coaching on the defensive side is excellent, so look for the defense to make a big step forward. The defense is going to win games for SC this year.

      OK, the o-line is still a problem (after 2 weeks of spring ball). Get over it. With more physical practices and a really great defensive line, we have to understand that the o-line is getting better by going through real development for the first time. Fall practice is going to be even more challenging for the o-line as Foreman comes in and Drake Jackson and he on the field at the same time will be insane. Add in possibility of Sopsher living up to his billing and Jay Toia coming on strong and that is a wrecking crew of a d-line. The o-line will be forced to get better playing against that crew. I can guarantee that Vic So’Oto isnt telling his players to take it easy on the o-line. He is creating a predator mentality.

      Let’s hope they lock down some top recruits in June after visits.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. one more point. if harrell cant deliver on offense, this is is last year at SC. so if we are just patient, either he performs, or we can move on from the air raid.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. We were on the verge of winning some games on defense LAST year. But, despite really good defensive play in the second halves of games, there were so many screw ups & turn overs in the first half by the offense, that the games had to be WON by last minute (literally) offensive dramatics.
        #MoreConsistentOffenseAllowsGamesToBe”Won”ByDefense

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Defense significantly improved over Clancy, much more aggressive, created more turnovers. Scottie is right that the key is the o-line. Another key is Slovis releasing the ball much sooner. And RUN the ball against the 8 drop zone, as Pudley notes.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. If only! It’s so obvious an effective run game would help us out —it’s just dumb to stick with the “it’s not what we do” explanation.
        It’s like those tennis players who doubt their backhand so much they try to cover two thirds of the court with their forehands —-getting further and further out of position. I don’t care how good your court overage is or how fast on your feet you are, you’re gonna lose —cuz you’re not a complete player.
        #LearnTheFuckingBackhand,Helton&Harrell

        Liked by 3 people

      1. You’re right, 67. Maybe its time for me to start talking like someone who graduated from 8th grade…..
        #Anchorman:”StayClassy”
        #[IBlameAllOfThisOnCal75]

        Like

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