My USC-Fresno State Takeaways

Here are my thoughts on USC-Fresno State:

  • I’m starting to feel like the passing game relies too much on Jordan Addison and Mario Williams. They were targeted 19 times Saturday night. All the other receivers were targeted a combined 11 times.

Now there’s nothing wrong with throwing to the best receivers. But a good team might be able to blunt their impact and then does USC have anyone else? Gary Bryant, who started last year, didn’t even have a pass thrown to him. Terrell Bynum, who transferred from Washington, has not caught a pass this season.

  • I never felt like USC lost control of the game or was in trouble. This goes back to the consistency of competence I talked about earlier this week. If I hightlight a weak point, it’s to illustrate what might happen if USC played an elite team.
  • Which brings me to the defense. I never felt like they were in control either. Fresno State rushed for 164 yards, which should happen. They had a 40-yard run, a 32-yard run and a 27-yard run. That’s unacceptable.
  • Eric Gentry has led USC in tackles for three straight games. Where would the Trojans be without him? Solomon Byrd wasnt’t even really getting reps a couple weeks ago but is now starting and thriving at defensive end. He had four tackles; a sack and forced fumble. Byrd’s ascension has kept Korey Foreman on the sideline.
  • Caleb Williams finally looked human in stretches of the game and it was OK. USC still scored 45 points (against Fresno State).
  • People are complimenting the offensive line but I felt like Williams was running for his life at times Saturday.
  • The special teams was OK but the kickoff teams looks vulnerable. Nikko Remigio of Fresno State averaged 31 yards on returns and almost broke a couple.
  • I’m starting to hear overwhelmingly from fans about the sheer loudness at the games — and not in a good way.

They are inundated with noise from DJ Malski and then piped in music for ads and other nonsense. Then there are the loud announcements and unnatural snippets of music meant to fire someone up but generally ignored by the crowd.

It’s so absurd that USC has a sponsor for the red zone. When USC reaches the red zone, the announcer yells, “Now in the -sponsor- Red Zone”.

48 thoughts on “My USC-Fresno State Takeaways

  1. My 5 takeaways from the game. 1. LR must involve G. Bryant Bynum Rice T. Washington, moving forward Caleb is missing reads just looking for Addison first, we are going to have to come up with better schemes to get those players involved. 2. Fresno St rolled up coverages dropping 8 in coverage. 3. Grinch must use stunts and zone blitzes for us to consistently to disrupt the timing of QB’s back up was 10-11. 4. Must stop arm tackling wrap up the ball carrier. 5. Coaches are not making players accountable for making the same mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CW seemed out of sinc for the first half. Even still they scored and maintained a lead. All kinds of remedies for the defense, but I believe it is what it is, make the best of it and lets move on. What they would do without Gentry is Goforth would step up, as last night they had Tui, Byrd, Lee, and Beavers make significant tackles. Max, Covington, Nomura, and Figueroa each had 3 tackles each. Kind of like it is a TEAM game. Funny how one run play they stuff, then the next one goes 30 yards. That’s football though. We will encounter some nail biters along the way, but I am just going to enjoy the ride, it is such an improvement over previous teams.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Actually, Bynum caught a 29 yard pass in Q4.

    Also, why not lock in on your 2 best receivers? If they are getting single covered and separating, you get them the ball. It’s very different from London last year because he couldn’t separate and was always doubled. Caleb’s not forcing the ball to them and clearly they are the best on the field. But maybe you think it’s better to force lower % passes to less sure-handed receivers with increased risk of turnover?

    They are distributing the ball quite well, with 7-12 players catching the ball each of the first 3 games and 4 different players getting receiving TD. What else could you want?

    Stellar analysis Scotty


    1. Wrong. Ask any Harvard, Yale or USC law professor: there is NO difference between “should” and “should not”…. they mean the exact same thing…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. L schools off the rails. A few months ago, Georgetown L-school forced out a prof who criticized Biden’s Black woman litmus test for SCOTUS. Freedom of speech? Not at Georgetown.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. From the I guess nobody plays clean department: After a tackle, which injured the Fresno State quarterback, Fresno State countered by tackling Travis Dye with a deliberate knee to the groin. A slow motion replay shows the tackler sliding his knee between Dye’s legs and pulling him forcibly down on it. (time out for an injured player)

    Come to think of it: wasn’t Charlie Bucket always talking about crotch kicks? (and Faux Ed etc. talking about crotch licks)

    My takeaway is that USC didn’t crumble like a house of cards, but dug deeper and took command of the game.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you caught that. You can pull that cheap shot anytime you’re landing on top of a runner who is facing up….. the nice thing is it almost never happens. Fresno State got their cheap shot asses handed to them….& it couldn’t have happened to a better team…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. Very happy he had such a great game…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Right now, Lincoln Riley is playing with house money so to speak. If he can load up on quality offensive and defensive lineman, SC can be a real force in the CFP. When you have the playmakers that SC has you can cover up a lot of inadequacies. If I had to give a grade to the offensive line it would be a B. For the defensive line it would be a C. As good as the offense has been the first three games, it would be a whole different story against Alabama and Georgia.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. …but last year it “was a whole different thing” against Stanford…and Cal….and UCLA….

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew it was coming from this “reporter”. People are being held accountable, remember the knucklehead who hit the QB late was immediately pulled from the field. Or people who missed blocks were pulled like the backup tackle to Haskins. Murphy embarrassed himself out there and had to go wave a towel. The towel waving is going to cost them a penalty.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I think Grinch’s defense is going to be up and down this year.

    They would have some good plays and then the opposing team will break a big play just when you thought the D was improving.

    They aren’t going to dominate a team a whole game nor will they get totally handled. But I think you are going to see alot of highs and lows with the D this year.



    Liked by 3 people

  8. The DJ crap is absolutely horrible. It’s way too loud and it’s taking the crowd out of the game. You can’t even talk to the guy sitting next to you. It also takes the USC band out of the game too. It’s college football for Pete’s sake, if you want loud rap music go somewhere else!!!! I have complained about this over and over. They don’t care, they don’t know what USC Football games are all about. Did you hear the crowds in some of Saturday’s games? How about that Washington game!! The Husky fans were a 12th man and a force!! It can’t happen when some crap DI is blasting everybody’s eardrums and giving everyone a throbbing headache. It’s got to go!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I commented on this last year. Some of the lyrics are not appropriate and what is censored the students sing anyway. At some point it will become an issue and embarrassment to the university. The reaction so far is they just give him more time/visibility.


  9. Running game outstanding,
    25 carries, 230 yards, no fumbles, 2 TD. And didn’t use Raleek.

    500 plus yards on offense, totally balanced play calling between run and pass.

    Fresno played way off Addison & Mario Williams, so tons of daylight open for TE & RBs, Caleb did miss some wide open guys, that will get better.

    Epps! How often do you see a guy catching a TD pass & also preventing a TD pass with an interception on defense?

    Announcers couldn’t even get his name right. I could see him being a major weapon, guy dwarfs anybody who would cover him.

    Saw hints of a ball control offense particularly in first half.

    Defense…But Fresno was averaging 522 yards per game. They had less than 300 early in the 4th. Great goal line stand at end of the game.

    In meantime, 3-0, ranked 7th, and anybody here before the game would have been happy with 45-17.

    But got to fix D before Utah. And OSU.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That about sez it all, pardner. But we are who we are…and that’s pretty damn good. We’ve got a defense that is one million times grittier than last year’s …and will force a few stops against anyone. And an offense that is right up there with any offense in the country.
      [btw, That last minute stop against a Fresno State team advertised in all the College Pre-Season Mags as having one of the best o-lines in football was not something we should sneeze at].

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Michael, check out the end of the highlights video below:

    Goforth, Anthony Beavers, and Davis deliver huge hits to stop Fresno on consecutive carries. Davis is only about 210, and he levels the ball carrier before the goal line on 4th down.

    USC #7 seems about right. Georgia IMHO is way ahead of everybody else, including ‘Bama and OSU. Georgia loses their their D-coordinator Lanning and the Georgia D is still a monster. Kirby Smart took a juco QB and has turned him into one of the most effective QBs in the country.

    USC is doing about as well as can be realistically expected, given the roster and a new coaching staff. Last year’s D was just awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One might even say , after re-watching last year’s USC/UCLA game, “USC is doing as well as UN-realistically could be expected…”

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It “felt like Williams was running for his life at times Saturday.”
    — As always Scott and I are in full agreement.
    Seriously– As my wife pointed out, “That guy is as quick as a cat!”
    —Good thing for him too otherwise he might be throwing his
    next passes at the nurses down at sucla Hospital


  12. If USC is missing out on offensive line recruits because they perceive us as not a power run team – that game should dispel that myth. USC’s run game was very solid. We have a fantastic running backs coach. USC offensive line blocking was solid in the run game, not excellent, just solid. The running backs are real special, in different ways. Raleek Brown has some development still. His one run he didnt make the cut he needed to.

    The most important part of Caleb Williams as QB is his ability to pull the ball and take off in a different direction. This adds a whole other dimension and is hard to stop. His ability to evade the rush is also pretty strong. But CW is actually missing quite a few throws. He is not good throwing on the run and he seems to get worse in pressure situations. Several deep balls in the past two games have been underthrown and players are having to come back to the ball. There are other QBs making more accurate throws.

    There is a coaching problem with receivers. JA is amazing, but that should allow us to scheme open other players – wide open. And it is not happening. Kyron Ware Hudson did a great job in the scrimmage and I think he was in the first game, where is he now? He is way better than Bynum, who dropped at least 2 passes in this game (from my memory). Where are Kyle Ford, CJ Williams, Lake McRee, Malcolm Epps, Gary Bryant?

    A few bright spots on defense. Eric Gentry could become an amazing linebacker, put some weight on him and he will just get better. Solomon Byrd is ascending and could be our rush edge going forward. But we are having real problems not getting gashed in the run, is this an issue with the safeties? or linebackers? or defensive line?

    There are some players that seem to be injured and not practicing all the time and not getting better. Korey Foreman is the poster child of this group. Has Calen Bullock regressed in this defense? Where are the tackles by safeties? Why is Shane Lee not in the top tacklers?

    Left tackle could be a HUGE problem going forward. Neither Cortland Ford nor Bobby Haskins seems to be be getting better and both are prone to injury. Should we move Vorhees out to left tackle? Mason Murphy got blown by in his first snap as left tackle, he hardly even moved.

    Overall, this team is seriously flawed, but Riley’s excellent scheme, playcalling and diverse playbook are saving USC’s bacon.

    1000% improvement from the Helton days, but after seeing Oregon yesterday, I think we might have real competition winning the Pac-12.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great piece. Nice catch on Murphy —that was pathetic. . [but I think you’re gonna get your wish next week — more receivers are gonna be involved]….


      1. Lincon Riley has talked about guys earning their way onto the field. We saw that with Solomon Byrd, who is going to keep getting better. I hope we see the same thing in other areas. For example, wide receivers. I think CJ Williams is a gem and Kyron Ware Hudson deserves to play. Is there a way to get Raesjon Davis on the field more? Is there a change in safeties that can have them contribute to stopping these long gashing runs? And why are we not using our tight ends more effectively?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think the reasoning is you could throw the tight end a 20 yard completion up the middle on any play this season…. it’s too easy.


      3. Hey MG, we need to get more WR involved, I mentioned this after the first game if we don’t get diversified in how we scheme these routes, we are going to be in trouble I counted at least 3 times the other receivers were open but Caleb just concentrated on Addison & Williams, don’t know if that was by design. Throwing bubble screens to Rice for 3 yards gain is not going to cut it. Poor GB, is going to enter the transfer portal, if he is regulated to KORS, his body language tells the whole story. I don’t want to hear those 2 are better. He had 568 yards last year 7 touchdowns. If thrown to him downfield he will catch it.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I trust GB as a receiver too —wish he’d just let us take the ball on the 25 on those kick offs, though….

        Liked by 1 person

  13. — Loved the 1st-half with 3 long SC drives for touchdowns.
    But too many 4th down plays were needed– ‘fortune does not always smile.’

    The at-night lighting changed SC’s uniform colors to a darker color, nice, and illuminated their helmets adding a haunting element to the already charged atmosphere

    It was unsettling seeing Williams going down a couple of times, once with his legs awkwardly placed as he struck the ground. Shades of broken knees, and in fact, the Fresno St guy blew his knee out when he hit the turf. If there is a silver lining, better 1-than-2

    As for the next-up Oregon St game, the Infamous-Beavers’ outfit is awaiting and can’t wait to slap that SC-defense around a little

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Caruso is planning to run hard at the end…. Nixon said that was his plan in 1960 & JFK said “Our plan is to run hard all the way”….


      1. I’d love some honest journalists to investigate the #KarenBass robbery and reveal that it was a staged publicity stunt. #JussieSmollett #Commie

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Wrong…..Bynum caught a pass against FSU for 29 yards. As far as the O-Line is concerned, they play well. The only time Williams was running for his life was when the receivers were all covered and he held onto the ball too long. You can’t protect him forever. The one exception was when Haskins came out of the game and they put in Mason Murphy and that edge rusher went by him like he was not there and then Williams managed to avoid him and circle back around and Murphy had a 2nd chance to block the same guy and missed the block again.


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