USC Morning Buzz: Feeling Good About The Defense?

With Jay Toia in the transfer portal, the fanboy media will go into overdrive to promote defensive tackle Jamar Sekona, who should see significant playing time.

And what about Alabama-transfer Ishmael Sopsher?

Well, the good news is he is walking around and no longer relying on a mobility scooter following surgery for compartment syndrome.

  • Now let’s look at a quote from a Pac-12 assistant in the Athletic about USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando that is similar to what I said about Orlando all last season.
  • “Orlando keeps people guessing, but I don’t think they’re very technique sound on defense. There are no adjustments to his defenses. If you crack that code, you’ve go them. They don’t have adjustments to formations. They just do what they do.”

Here’s a post from last November where I criticized Orlando for the mechanics and alignment of his defense, and not plugging the gaps, among other things.

46 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: Feeling Good About The Defense?

  1. Compared to Pendergast, i will take Orlando. But if I get Don Lindsey, the dcordninator from the 70’s, then I am winning many more games.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Pac-12 assistant coach was probably the Oregon O coordinator, who couldn’t move the ball at all against USC and is still steamed about it.

    Trojans ranked around 30th in country in D last year in a pass-happy conference. Defensive issues weren’t the problem last year.

    The problem is how long Slovis has to go through his progressions against an 8-drop zone and what ensues once the play breaks down. Would love to see Ingram and Christon in those situations. Off to the races.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yup. How many teams who moved the ball and scored early on us last season were shut down when it counted at the end with the games on the line? If Slovis doesn’t come out weak vs the quacks we’d have beaten them like a cheap tin drum.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Double yep. Many forget that Slovis’ first half nerves put the defense in terrible positions against Oregon’s offense. And many don’t WANT to remember that it was Slovis’s “pass outta bounds” [that didn’t go all the way outta bounds] that sunk us in the 4th quarter. USC kicked ass on defense for most of the game —far better showing than anybody else who played Oregon’s high octane offense.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It might’ve made a difference knowing our opponent for that Friday night game before Wednesday morning. Having to prepare for a game that had three possibilities (fuskies, zeroes, buffs) is a rather unique situation. Remember that the buffs sent their equipment trucks halfway here in anticipation of playing in that game. While we were stuck in limbo, each of those teams had prepared for a single opponent.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We were at a disadvantage in the conference championship for several reasons, including the fact our games got bunched up at the end of the season and we were tired [here’s where a tiny amount of pushback from USC’s athletic Department coulda done a world of good —specifically, requesting we get 2 more lousy days of practice once Oregon was thrust on us—-but, surprise, they just accepted what was handed to them —kinda the way Haden used to handle unfair treatment toward USC]. That said, we benefitted greatly from not having to play Alabama or Notre Dame.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Love it. He’s mentally and physically ready (and has the receivers) to take the Pac 12.
        That said, why did Harrell show such impatience with Kedon last year? Every single time a question was asked about Kedon’s arm he got pissed and said “it’s all in his head —the doctors can’t find a thing.” He didn’t say it like he was trying to hide a weakness —his tone was really dismissive.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. That’s what I’d have done too. I don’t want anyone game planning for an injured qb and targeting him any more than usual. But that’s just me.
        My go to line for this sort of query..
        “none of your f’n business.”

        Same line saban and dabo paraphrase.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. Me too [I’ve heard every lie that can be heard and told every lie that can be told —so I’m a pretty good at it —remember the Christopher Walken line from True Romance: Sicilians are the heavyweight champions of liars”]? But Harrell deserves a fricking Academy Award for the venom he faked when he said “it’s all in his mind —we’re trying to get him over it!”

        Liked by 2 people

      7. I’m not gonna whine. USC lost to a lesser team, arguably because Helton/Harrell had a lousy game plan against a strong, aggressive defense.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Wasn’t trying to whine. Game plan is one thing, application of it through 20 yr old kids after a single walk through is something else. quacks we’re sitting on our routes early and the reads weren’t very good. Not sure how that equates to a bad game plan.

        Like

    2. At the time of Scott’s referenced critique, Orlando was coming off a spring and fall’s worth of virtual practices with a new team. The test is this year. We’ll know everything by the 4th quarter of the Stanford game. And my guess is: we’re gonna see an effective, disciplined & highly motivated defense.
      And you couldn’t be more right about our offense. Without a better run game {and that is to say without a better O-Line) we’re gonna have troubles….which we’ll have to hope the stellar performances of London, McCoy and Slovis gloss over.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am positive on the defense, but I think that Scott does have some validity in his concerns. I dont know the specifics of the schematics, but Orlando seems to do well the first couple years he is at a place and then his defenses get worse. It seems like there might be a strategic problem with his defenses. I do think he builds a better culture and that might be why he does well in the first year or two when he takes over a defense.

        SC has a few holes to plug from last year – Hufanga and Marlon in particular on the defensive side. I am not worried about replacing OG. But the upside will come if Raesjon Davis can play as a freshman, or Julien Simon progresses. Or maybe Solo comes back healthy. There are alot of potential upsides in the linebacker group. And with Foreman and Jackson on the field at the same time in those hybrid roles, it could cause havoc for opposing offenses.

        At the least, I dont think the defense will be the biggest problem this coming year at SC.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Figured you’d appreciate this one MG… whenever I hear a TO or some other coaching sympathizer talk about instilling toughness, etc over the course of a few weeks/months I can’t help but shake my head. IMO you got it or you don’t. No amount of Helton tough talk, or Orlando mantra chanting would’ve taken a heartless kid and brought him up off the canvas like this.

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    3. Agreed!
      I think Ore was gifted three short fields (2 terrible INT’s) leading to 17 points in the first half or so in the Pac12 “champ” game.

      Cristobal could be in trouble. His #1 QB trf’d and the trf from Boston College didn’t seem “impressive.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. When it comes to Oregon 2021 all I have to say is: Hope we get the chance for payback….
        #WeCanTake’Em

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So many here say that sow and the sparkies are a threat… hmmm, not everyone agrees.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 5 wins over/under…wow! So Chip will really improve that second college career legacy, going from “worst 3 year power 5 record” to “worst 4 year power 5 record”. I wonder how Aikman is feeling about the 7 figure donation he made to help buy out Mora and hire Chip…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. We gots Wazzu and the Beav, instead of the dux and the fuskies.
      We gots CU in Boulder in early October with no snow on the ground.
      We gots Utah in LA.

      I could not have made a more favorable schedule myself.

      That said, the Bruins will be sporty if their offense stays healthy.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. “If healthy”….which is a crap shoot with a QB who runs several times a game…. and ends up limping in second half of last 3 games….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Orlando needs to put Drake Jackson back at de. That is his forte. Playing lber did not do a thing to help SC. That is on Orlando and not Jackson

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    1. I’m sure Drake and his family had lots of input in this decision. I’m withholding judgment until this year before I say Drake isn’t cut out for it.

      Like

  5. I always worry about the defense. That’s what the other teams study to beat us. Especially since we have become a one trick pony on offense. We let our stable of big running backs run off to other teams through the Helton portal, so we’d better pass well. (Everybody knows this)
    Our only chance is to prevent the other team from scoring when they have the ball as opposed to when we give it to them aka interception. I will alwaysworry about the defense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like our backs – Ingraham averaged 6 yards per carry, ran for over 2000 yards at Texas. Christon is one of the fastest guys in college football and can break tackles. And the frosh from Texas looks like he has tons of potential. And there will be plenty of opportunity to break a few big runs if the opposing D drops into that 8 man zone that everyone now seems to employ against USC.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. If we don’t run the ball when Stanford, Notre Dame and Utah go into their pass defenses, Harrell needs his head examined. And, although I think he wants to attack teams who pull everybody back, nothing I saw from the o-line in spring (even given the # of guys out) gives me confidence he’s gonna be able to make the run work.
        May I say it one more time? If we have trouble running past the line of scrimmage I sure hope we go to short passes to our backs –they both [Ingram and Kenan] have great hands. [Add Dart to the mix if we get stalled a lot in goal line situations].
        #UnlikeMostTeams,USCHasTheAnswersToAllIt’sProblems…
        #[WeJustCan’tBeScaredOfUsingThem—Saying”It’sNotUs”]

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Do you remember the photo of Clay with a big grin while tending to his BBQ outside his home? The one Scottie uses about once a week? Maybe we can relegate Clay to the task of cooking for the postgame meal. That should keep him occupied.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Headline: “Clay Helton presents major distraction to team after repeatedly burning himself on grill before games!”
        # “…AndHavingToBeSavedByPlayersFromChokingOnHotDogs..”

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Pudly –I do remember seeing Kedon under center …and that’s great news for Ingram when we’re at first and goal. [I still like the idea of bringing Dart in for that situation ]…..one more thing for the defense to worry about

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Oregon had 243 yards total offense vs. USC in the final game. Averaged just 3.3 yards per carry rushing and only 5.7 yards per pass attempt. Orlando and the D did about the best they (or anyone else) could.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The defense was READY. Offense was out of sync for most –but not all —of game. Had we played a full game we woulda kicked their ass….
      #…ButWeShouldGetTheChanceToAvengeThatLossInDecember

      Liked by 2 people

  7. ….I must gather from the above comments that the answer to Mr. Wolf’s question of the day is,
    “Yes.”

    I always qualify that holding anyone under 30 is seen as a decent effort “nowadays.”
    The “good old days” of a 17 to 13 game are over. Depth and conditioning will be the issue for 2021.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. CLANCY PEDERGAST —CAR 54 where are you!???? Clancy, was hired by Clay Helton twice, and Clay thought he was the greatest defensive coordinator of all time.

    Has anyone noticed no one has hired him since he left USC. It appears he is back working on the family farm in Arizona.

    What does this tell you about Helton he brought a coach back twice to lead his defense, and yet no one else is the country thinks he is qualified so obviously working at SC did not help his resume much.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s use the correct title, 67 — Vice Deputy Groundskeeper…..
        #ShowSomeRespect

        Like

  9. If Orlando had the spring and summer of 2020 to install his system, the defense might not have been as bad as Wolf and the mystery coach made it out to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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