Morning Buzz: Where’s The Major Test For USC?

Caleb Williams said Wednesday, “at the end of the day we are 5-0.”

USC is undefeated as it heads into the Washington State game. But are some people letting their euphoria overshadow the schedule?

USC’s beaten underwhelming Rice, awful Stanford, overhyped Fresno State, plucky Oregon State and turmoil-ridden Arizona State.

We all knew the schedule was relatively easy so being 5-0 is where USC would have been projected before the season. A win over Washington State would be expected too.

Utah is the supposed big test. Has anyone actually followed Florida since it barely beat the Utes, 29-26? The Gators lost to Kentucky, barely beat South Florida, lost to Tennessee and defeated Eastern Washington.

The Utes’ loss at Florida hasn’t exactly held up. But I guess this is what qualifies as a major test in the Pac-12 circa 2022.

  • The Athletic lists USC cornerback Mekhi Blackmon among its under-the-radar prospects with mid-round potential.
  • USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch on his defense: “From a consistency standpoint, that’s probably where you’re a failing grade.”
  • Linebacker Shane Lee missed practice yesterday. If he is unable to play, he would be replaced by Ralen Goforth.
  • The announcers for Saturday’s game on Fox are Noah Eagle and former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich.

39 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: Where’s The Major Test For USC?

  1. Goforth is ok but I think Lee is better with more mobility. Too bad USC doesn’t have a couple more like Gentry. WA St is going to do just what OSU did and what Utah will do. Cover 2 deep with a pressure. Thing is that leaves no spy for Caleb. So what if he rushes for 100 yards. USC has to come up with a way to make defenses play honest.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Answer: throw to Raleek just past scrimmage —let him do the rest. Same with Dye. Nothing longer than 15 yards to Williams and Addison for the entire first quarter. Kill ’em with short stuff and designed QB runs. Since our o-line won’t be able to get us more than two and a half seconds before Washington State’s rush is all over Caleb, keep the pressure on with fast developing plays.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Nice game plan by both of you.
        I cannot tell if Wazzu’s run defense is stout, or teams just don’t run against them cuz the air game is so profitable against them.

        I think Dye gets 100, Raleek gets some targets–hopefully at the perimeter, Caleb runs some, distributes the ball nicely to a wonderful corps of WR/TE and the O gets 38-42 points.

        Let’s talk Utah after the Utah-UCLA game and USC Wazzu game.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Bourbon,
        Let’s amend your last sentence to, “let’s talk after USC victory with all USC players emerging without a scratch….. and Utah victory with Utah emerging a beat up, exhausted team that needs a bye …but gets healthy, revenge- bent USC team instead..”

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Right on MG. Hopefully LR has a game plan that has Caleb throw quick passes so he won’t have to be running around for his life. I believe that if Dietrich plays the game we will be better.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Agree with your plan, in general. But I trust Riley to have plenty of schemes.

        As I have thought about it more, I think the primary problem at Oregon State was Caleb and Riley having communication problems due to the noise and then Caleb getting frustrated and thrown off his game.

        It was a learning experience. Let’s hope they worked it out and it wont happen again.

        I also think Riley has been holding many things back and will try to continue to hold things back until we get to Utah.

        I think Lee is a great leader, but not a great player for his position. Tackett Curtis is going to get on field right away next year. I wonder if Raesjon Davis might get on field this game, particularly if Lee is banged up. Goforth is OK, but has never been great.

        Fans dont quite understand that Riley is coaching this team for a full season, so he doesnt throw everything at every game. There are some games where he might go in with a very generic plan and hope they can win, but if things are not going well, then he dials it up. I think in the Arizona game, they didnt want to show all the different rushing schemes up front, but were forced to do it in the second half to create some separation in the score.

        Fans expect to win big against lesser teams, but a coach like Riley is coaching for the whole season, so he isnt throwing everything possible against ASU.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. @Gametv – Noise at Oregon State? Only 28,000 there with one side of the stadium empty due top renovations. Only place less noisy with less people will be ucla with maybe 1,500 in attendance……….


      1. Possibly lose? Yes. That lopsided? No.

        One of many football related posts of mine. Contrary to what one idiot claims.


      2. Utah. 37

        UCLA. 24

        Not sold on DTR

        In Other News…James Carville blasted (R) Ron DeKatrina DeSantis


    2. Hopefully Grinch leaves, doesn’t mean ‘Ol Mule Shoe is going to hire a good competent coach.

      Have to get rid of those other two idiots Nua and Donte Williams

      But please Grinch, take a job, any job, just get the fuck out and if you can take those two other clowns with you


      1. Inner Tebowobama: Ah, good Ol’ Mule Shoe –that was my great grandpappy’s nickname. Old Lukey was such a character. He once stopped the car on the I-5 so I could get out and retrieve his red flannel hankie. Never had such fun dodging cars whizzing by. Ah, such a character.


    3. Goforth is ok but I think Lee is better with more mobility. Too bad USC doesn’t have a couple more like Gentry. WA St is going to do just what Pudly76 did to my posterior cavity, Cover 2 deep balls with a pressure. So what if they cum too fast. USC has to come up with a player that well endowed is they want some of this juicy stuff.


  2. Utah is legit —loss to Florida not withstanding. They have the best 0-line and the best D-line in the Pac 12 by far. And probably the best overall coaching. Lincoln and Kyle are different kinds of coaches but they are both proven winners. The difference in coaching quality comes in the form of the rest of their respective coaching staffs —with the clear winner being Utah. Throw in the fact it’s an away game and a USC victory would be HUGE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still cannot get that Rose Bowl drubbing vs OSU out of my head, MG.
      Whit was shown how one-dimensional he was and Scalley was shown how out-of-league he was by Bucky.

      Anyway, I hope to watch the Utah UCLA game this weekend and we can mince words Sat/Sun.

      Beat the Cougs!
      Soon–and after about 70 years–we won’t be going to the Palouse any more.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I git it, Johnn. Eny teem we beet is a lot wurse then we thot they wuz. Kinda like the girls Ed G daited befor me, he ended up finding out aftur the dait they had no teeth.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. ..but…a big part of his retirement checks will be spent defending lawsuits and criminal prosecution and attempting to avoid extradition…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. While IDGARA about the Gators, they have the #20 rated Strength of schedule SO FAR and the #22 rated SOS to the end of year. On a warmish Saturday in early Sept, the Utes TRAVELED to the SWAMP
    (and we know they should have won). Ever since, the Utes have steamrolled a similarly weak schedule (to USC’s). We find out about the Ute’s defense versus a very sporty Bruin offense on Saturday. Can y’all just wait to see how that game unfolds before judging?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. …I think Helfrich might have done the commentary for the USC-Beaver game last month. He quietly roots for the Trojans to lose in an upset, and he was tiresome to listen to during the game at Reiser. I muted my TV in the second half. Great game to WATCH.

    I expect the same out of Helfrich on Sat.
    At least we are at home.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. …there must be some play by play guys who don’t have a dog in the hunt [as in ‘didn’t coach in the Pac 12’ –where all coaches have one common enemy: USC]…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve probably mentioned it before, he initiated a brief conversation with me at the grocery store when he saw me wearing a USC windbreaker. Nice guy.


  6. USC needed this schedule. Did Alabama have that much better a schedule when they barely beat Texas who lost to Tech? Or should we look at the Trojans within the context of competing vs expectations? The days of guaranteed wins for any program are gone. Can team X win must be replaced with the probability of victory. The Cougars did not sack Bo Nix at home when they played the Ducks. They did get a pick 6 but lost at the end of the contest. They also gave up 100+ yards on the ground and 400+ in the air. Fast but small with redshirt freshmen in the 2 deep doesn’t sound like a firm foundation to win for Wash. ST at the Coliseum.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This year is proving that the separation between teams is not as great as some people think. Even Georgia or Alabama can get into a close game with a lesser team. If a better team has a 95% chance of winning against a lesser team, there are still those 5% of days when the lesser team can win. And there are probably another 25% of days when it is a close game.

    Even top 10 teams will lose games during the regular season. Expecting USC to go undefeated is setting a very high bar for a team that has many deficiencies. Give the coaches another year to improve the roster and fill in their holes. But it probably takes another 2-3 years for the roster to get the depth that is needed to be an Alabama or Georgia-level team.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 10-2 after 4-8 would represent a very satisfying season …


      2. I have USC running the table, but if I am wrong it is still a great ride. Have not had this much fun in 10 years.


  8. Just commit to the run early ( balance) and resist the impulse to air it out when we only get 2 yards on a particular carry. We’ve got arguably the 2, if not 3 best backs in the conference. They load the box and then the party’s over for them. Conundrum. Also, being a scoring machine sometimes, our defense is on the field a lot. Balance gives them rest and adjustment time. Also looking a the stats at the end of the game and concluding we were balanced is not exactly true. We start pounding and mop up later in the game. Last game was primarily won due to our magician QB. Not sustainable against the likes of Utah, UCLA or ND.


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