Morning Buzz: USC-UCLA Report Card

QUARTERBACK

It must be an amazing feeling to call plays and know Caleb Williams will use his magic to make them work. He can throw against his body better than anyone in college football. And he’s almost impossible to tackle on the first attempt. He’s singlehandedly got USC in the College Football Playoff conversation. It’s all enough to almost make you forget his slow start.

Grade: A-

RUNNING BACKS

This was a concern entering the game and Austin Jones stepped up and looked more lively than in other games. Maybe it was the adrenalin from knowing he was the man. Maybe it was UCLA’s defense. Either way Jones performed. Why hasn’t Darwin Barlow played more this season?

Grade: B+

WIDE RECEIVER

Jordan Addison almost has a quiet-looking 178-yard performance but he’s worth every penny in clutch situations. That was a great TD catch by Kyle Ford. It demonstrates why earlier in the season I was against so much focus on Mario Williams.

Grade: B

OFFENSIVE LINE

Joel Klatt sure pumped up the line. Even when it was only dealing with a three-man rush. They were less stellar on that fourth-and-1 on the first series. They do fine against poor defenses. Notre Dame might be a different story. Or Oregon. Or . . . Georgia?

Grade: C+

DEFENSIVE LINE

I continue to think Tyrone Taleni is one of the most underrated players on the team. He had four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. Tuli Tuipulotu isn’t underrated but he’s sometimes the only guy who can disrupt at the line of scrimmage. Korey Foreman finally made a play. It will be hard to ever top it.

Grade: C

LINEBACKER

Sometimes you need to hold your breath watching Shane Lee in pass coverage but he had a huge interception near the end of the first half. Eric Gentry was still limping and barely played. Ralen Goforth had five tackles.

Grade: C-

DEFENSIVE BACKS

UCLA has extremely average receivers. You need to ask yourself this: Has Donte Williams developed anyone this season? Who got better? Mekhi Blackmon makes plays but he did that at Colorado too. Ceyair Wright has basically been at one level all year. There’s a slew of other corners who never see the field and are not considered capable of playing. At least the safeties have had Bryson Shaw emerge recently. But Alex Grinch coaches them.

Grade: D

SPECIAL TEAMS

The missed field goals. The short kickoffs that aided UCLA. This was a razor-close game where special teams could have been what cost USC the game. And almost did.

Grade: D-

COACHING

I felt like Lincoln Riley was a little flat-footed at the start of the Crosstown Rivalry, perhaps not realizing just how intense things might get. But when you have Caleb Williams, it’s OK. There’s no Caleb on the defense, however. What is difficult to understand is how the defense has such gaping holes when everyone knows a pass is coming? UCLA had multiple TD drives under three minutes. One was 11 seconds. USC needs a special teams coach whether it wants one or not.

Grade: C-

100 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC-UCLA Report Card

  1. Coach Riley replies to Scott: “I’ve read & considered your criticisms. Let’s split the difference. I’m putting Donte in charge of Special Teams.”

    Like

    1. …and then never punt, never kick a field goal, kickoff into the endzone 100% and fair catch all KO and punt.

      Sounds good to me, Michael.
      #don’tletDontemessanythingelseup

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Coach” Carol Folt: “I’m worried that, given his spectacular success, Coach Riley will someday consider a Rams’ offer — fortunately our insurance plan is still in place —-Donte Williams.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI MICHAEL
      YEP DOGSTILL LIVES THANKS TO KOREY

      POSTINY HASBRCOME SOMEWHAT HARDER CUZ I SPEND A LOTOFTIMEGOINGBACK TO FIX TYPING ERRORS SO FROM NOW ON I GUESS I WILL JUST HAVE TO LET THEMGO

      HOPE NOONE MINDS TOO MUCH
      IF SO THEY CSN JUSTSKIP MY POSTS. LOL

      HI SO CAL
      ENJOYED YOUR VACUUM JOKE RESUCKING
      ALSO ENJOYED YOURANYA REFERENCE
      SHE SAID HER EYES ARE SET WIDEAPART WAYTOO MUCH ANDTHE KIDS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CALLED HER. FISH EYES. LOL

      IF YOU HAVEAN EXTRA TICKET SHESAIDSHEWOILD LIKE TO SIT NEXT TO YOU AT THEGAME

      THIS WEEK I WANT SOME PAYBACK FOR THAT TONY RICEGAME INTHE LATE EIGHTIES

      IN THE THIRTIES ANDFORTIES YOU COUKD SEE PRIESTS AND NUNS WALKING BACK AND FORTH BEHIND THE IRISH BENCHSAYINGTHE ROSARY
      ONE TIME I EVEN SAW TWO NUN. IM NOT KIDDING

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes George that 1988 Tony Rice fake pitch and run to a 7-0 lead set the table for a less than thanksgiving afternoon for the Trojans, and who says saying the Rosary doesn’t work, try it you might like it and here is hoping it helps to bring you along GT!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. George, good to see you back. Dongs don’t need to worry about spelling and grammar and that kind of crap. I mean, Scottie doesn’t worry about it, why should we?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. GT,

        Back in 1972,, SC’s entire starting team were Cathloic. The Pagan Catholic, ND had baptists playing for them. As far as I am concenred, the nuns and priests here in the Southland need to pray for SC. The Chicago priests and nuns pry for the pagan. That should be a new Vatican LAW

        Like

  3. Makes one wonder what the heck the standard is for his grading.
    Should be:
    QB – A
    WR – A
    RB – A
    DB’s – B-
    LB’s – B (stopping the run was a plus)
    Coaching – B+ (special teams should not be weighted that heavily)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. A Pac12 coach told me Scott expects:
      The defense can only allow only 3 & outs.
      When rushing, the defense must get tackles for loss or cause fumbles.
      When passing, the defense must get a sack, breakup all passes or get interceptions.
      So, the defense must allow negative rushing yards
      and zero yards passing.
      That’s in order to get a C+!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s see —since given those metrics, USC would have the offense on the field for about 50 minutes —I’m thinking that Pac 12 coach is considering a 77-0 score in the C+ category….
        #Okay…
        #..But…
        #…I’mGoingWithB-

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Greg,

      I thought the oline deserved a B. They opened holes up for Jonhes, Brown, and the other rb. Great run game. Yes, they gave up three sacks. But when you throw the ball for over 30 times, that is not a bad percentage.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 700 yards of total offense and the O line gets a C+? How many yards does it take to get an A. Yes the line went against some 3 man fronts and they also were able to run for 200 yards. If Scott was a physics professor, that Einstein guy would get a B. “Not quite up to Newton’s standard. ”

    Agree that Barlow had a good game and I would like to see him play more.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. Wolf to Einstein: “If you’re so fricking smart why can’t you harmonize quantum physics with your theory of relativity? The math doesn’t hold up, genius!”
        SpecialNote:IfHeHadLived2MoreYearsEinsteinWouldaGotIt!

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Answer: Scott woulda felt sorry for Einstein & given him an “extra credit” homework assignment to get a “Pass”…..
        #Scott:”ThePoorGuyIsDoingTheBestHeCan…”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The SC kid misses a couple of field goal attempts (but made a crucial one at 20-21)
    and the kickoff team aborted a couple of Sky-Kicks, need to free kick instead
    So how does a Special Teams coach help in these instances (he doesn’t)

    Korey Foreman will never have a bigger moment because his interception saved the sucla game in 2022

    And why is ‘Celeb’ the ‘teacher’s’ (Wolf) pet when the poor guy took another sack

    The SC defensive line held sucla’s No. 24 to under 100-yards rushing and he was thought to be the Trojans’ biggest threat aside from the sucla QB who the linemen forced a fumble and the defensive backs stole 3 other balls. Not a bad day’s work except in Wolf’s eyes so I would recommend getting a transfer out of Wolf’s “class”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. John —
      I think you’re missing the secret message hidden in Scott’s suggestion: He wants a young, athletic Special Teams coach who can personally replace Lynch every time we need 3 points….

      Liked by 2 people

  6. QB- A+ Caleb was outstanding he will be a top 5 pick in next year’s draft. He is the Heisman winner hands down, end of story. RB- B- Austin Jones was solid, showed why he chose to transfer because if you perform at a high level for USC it does matter to scouts. Brown needs to stop trying to break everything outside not in HS anymore. Go get in the weight room and start building your lower body, so you will be able to break arm tackles great talent. OL- B+ They were great they should win the best line award. Only blemish was they allowed a couple of sacks. WR- A. Addison showed y he chose USC, just a Alpha dog. Every one else is stepping up. Best WR group in the country. What team has 8 bonified WR that consistently make big plays. This group will validate their position with a ND beat down through the air. DL-B- Was just a little bit above average not enough pressure on DTR, even though he threw 3 picks and caused a FF it gave up over 370 yards passing not acceptable. 100 + rushing to Charbonet. Foreman played his most impactful game of his USC career. LB C- Just ok against the run they didn’t get gashed but for big chunk plays, but still not where it needs to be to Win CFP game. Lee did play better guarding the RB in the flat.
    DB C- Blackmon made a int and was in great position. Everyone was average. Coaching B- LR had a great game plan, only if he would hire SPT coach 2 short offs WTF was that LR gave SUCLA 14 easy points.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Yes, our receivers are the best —but let’s not forget Austin was a difference maker [cuz we have to mix it up a little to take the pressure of Caleb].
      I think the reason we didn’t score on those first two red zone trips is cuz we outsmarted ourselves. The same QB keeper we finally scored on later in the quarter would have worked just as well on our first trip [and each of the next 5 too].

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Regarding Shane Lee, he had been playing with a cast on his arm. I think this may have been the first game with the cast off. Seemed much stronger and more athletic on Saturday.

      Liked by 5 people

    3. Eric – Nice summary. I agree with your grading. How anyone could give Caleb anything less than a A is beyond me. The first two drives werent stopped due to Caleb messing up, it was other team issues. What sticks out to me was that UCLA drives were mainly a mixture of broken coverage exploits, inability of USC to set the edge and DTR scampering out of the pocket for yardage. It is still mostly a linebacker problem.

      Let’s hope that Korey Foreman has a new inspiration to succeed.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Yeah ‘maybe’ but give DTR some credit – yes he had/has a big mouth but he played to his highest skill set….Caleb would throw an uppercut and connect and DTR would counter with a haymaker to the head. In the end it was a credit to both Caleb Williams and the defensive players that made sure the win was secured – Korey was man enough to ignore the past and took Riley’s heartfelt advice and grabbed that brass ring he was intent on seeing thus ensuring his move in Trojan lore.

        Liked by 2 people

    4. Eric,

      Oline did a great job. I was eve more impressed with Grinch’s game plan. Stop uglies run game and put it on the uglies qb shoulders. He saw that he cracked against UofA and Grinch knjows SC’s defense is better, so make the ugly qb win the game. he imploded from the d pressure.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott definitely strains when it comes time to write about a big Trojan Win…..
      #Now,WhenItComesToALoss…Ah!…..
      #…ScottApproachesMiltonianHeights

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, a USC loss is the middle of the fairway for Scottie.

        Remember last year when USC hoops was something like 12-0? My recollection is that there wasn’t one word from Scottie

        #ThenTheyLostToStanford
        #”ThanksEnfield!”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. An amazing offense —the only time it fizzled was in Corvallis where the signals could not be heard…..
      #[AndOnLastDriveInSaltLake…
      #…WhereWeWerePenalizedOn3PlaysInARow…
      #..AfterGettingTo50YardLine…]

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m so proud of this year’s team. …2016 was the last time we were in the national conversation this deep into the season. USC was ranked #5 and we beat Penn St.

        Thank you, Sam…..the 4th shootout turned the game into an instant classic!

        Liked by 4 people

  7. Football Outsiders has USC as the #1 O-line on average…Oregon #3 and ND #8

    No. 1 in line yards per carry on standard downs
    No. 1 in opportunity rate (64.5%; the percentage of carries when 4 yards are available that gain at least 4 yards)
    No. 2 in line yards per carry
    No. 2 in power success rate (92.6%; runs on third or fourth down with 2 yards or less to go that gained a first or a score)
    No. 4 in stuff rate (10.8%; percentage of carries that are stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage)

    https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ncaa/sp/overallol/2022

    (their website lists a definition of each of the categories)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I predict nothing less than a win(fingers crossed)

        IMO, ND will use the Stanford formula. Run the football with their good O-line, and pick up chunk yardage through the TEs. The key for ND will be to control the LOS and clock, to limit our possessions.

        Their only hope of winning is to keep Caleb off the field and grind it out in the trenches.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gabby,
        We can only pray Notre Dame decides to go with the “Stanford Formula”….
        #….1990’sFootball….
        #….FromNowOn…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m stuck in San Antonio TX in an Air B&B this week I had to watch the game on my phone. I haven’t been able to get this internet past 16kbs which means streaming is a joke.
    Anyway my local paper (San Bernardino Sun) has three articles about the game Saturday night. Two USC and one Ucla. All three are about USC. I can’t remember when USC football generated this much press, it’s been a while.
    Anyway who bet on Foreman for the game winning interception? That’s like winning the power ball, it’s just about as rare as Scott giving passing grades.
    I haven’t caught up today, is Owns okay?
    As designated Ucla fan, he really took one for the blog. I know he doesn’t like excuses, so I’ll give him a couple ; That was targeting or roughing the passer or both for the rare 30 yards penalty. And DTR’s hand hit the top of his lineman’s helmet so he was left with closeups of his grimacing face after every wayward pass. If DTR hadn’t been so self centered, he would have pulled himself and let his understudy lead the team to victory . So there it is Owns : the refs, the injured and (bonus) the mind of the star player.
    The bell looks better in red Dong Dong

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ghost of Me I agree, we are becoming the darling’s of college football comeback stories. DTR stop drinking your own kool aid, and stop running your pie hole. You are self centered primarily dona Ruin CRY BABY. Next time you run your mouth it will be in the Mobile Alabama in the Senior bowl or Alamo or Holiday bowl. I know who needs stop talking Just Owns Tebowobama like Jim Rome always said “Scoreboard ” Baby.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly……the scoreboard is the fastest way I know to shut down their pie-hole

        All the little bitches claiming a ruin blow-out over USC got, in the words of my little buddy slo cal-” their ass handed to them”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Owns said, since they only lost by 3 points it was a moral victory. It’s truly pathetic because decade after decade the ruins continue to swim in an ocean of mediocrity and use moral victories to help them feel better about the football program

      Like

  9. At this point in the season, Lincoln Riley is my National Coach of the year. He inherited a dumpster-fire 4-8 team, turned it into 10-1, and is in a position for a spot in the CFP. Very few coaches poses that type of skill-set

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabby you are absolutely correct he should be National Coach of the Year Here are my candidates 1. LR 2. Sonny Dykes 3. Josh Huephel. 4. Brian Kelly The Winner is LR, but the people who vote will either SD or JH.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Guys –are we pulling for Clay to win his 6th game & get a bowl bid….
        #…OrNot?
        #[OrDoWeEvenGiveACrapOneWayOrTheOther]?

        Like

    2. Lincoln versus Sonny Dykes (vs Heupel in some people’s minds).

      Because he is in the PAC 12, there is no way that the media machine will give it to a West Coaster.

      Sadly, Dykes or Heupel will win it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 11 games in, PAC12 has 5 teams ranked 17 or higher and 6 in the overall top 25. Perhaps the media’s perception of our conference will improve. QB play across the board in the PAC12 is second to none!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Don’t care about grades for the USC-UCLA game.
    These Trojans passed the class and are already working on passing grad school admission test.

    Big exam on Saturday.

    BTW, will this be the first time in the storied Rivalry where the USC head Coach is 0-0 versus ND and the ND HC is 0-0 versus USC?

    Pudly76 would know.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t want to jinx us by making a smart crack about how long Freeman has a clean slate….
      #RespectEveryone,FearNoOne
      #FingersCrossed

      Like

  11. Grinch is the new Clay Helton of USC football. So many other schools do way more with less talent and injuries. Even prior to injuries, the defense was suspect.

    #Grinch to ruin playoff game

    Like

      1. But Michael, Grinch draws up the schemes. It is his responsibility as well to get a corner guy in there then. Like saying Clay Helton just calls plays but does not coach the QB, line, defense, special teams, etc so it is not his fault.

        Like

  12. You ever stop to think that Wiley and Wolfie might be collaberating
    as good cop with Wiles building up his boys while Scottie’s bad cop gradings keep the team striving to improve

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Michael, Wolf would prefer that you also erase his proprietary comments with Wiley
        Something about Wolfie’s fear of Wiles’ reprisals similar to Caesar’s rebukes

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Scooter,

    After teh debacle at Utah and th other game, the Pac 12 refs have given SC a different set of refs that i have not seen before. Actually, they were not bad at the ugly game. Yes, there were bad calls on both sides, but they did not control the game like they did at the utah and arizona game. Now, will the refs be from the ACC to help the Pagan Catholics of nd? let us know.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We really need gentry this week to keep tabs on the domer TE. Also, linebacker play must improve against their stout o line.

    Like

  15. Just to throw a little conversation material into the mix, it is just a couple of weeks till early LOI day. Still some good players undecided. But back to today…Beat ND.

    Like

  16. Seems SC will see no further entry by Gentry after his injury-plagued sucla effort– better to play a second stringer with a full running motor than the 1st stringer with only half a motor

    Like

  17. Wolfie
    What are you smoking? QB….A-…….Receivers….B……O-Line……C+…….Coaching…..C-? That comes out to a B- average for the offense.
    Newsflash……SC gained 650 yards offense. Let up on the weed. It’s effecting your mind.

    Like

  18. If they pick a QB for the Heisman, I think it should be Caleb. His closest rival for the Heisman is Stroud from OSU. Caleb is better than Stroud. Caleb is the best QB in the country. I also think that LR should win coach of the year. The only other guy that I can see would be the guy from TCU.I would not be surprised to see Oregon State beat Oregon this week. That game is a perfect trap game for Oregon.

    Like

  19. That SC offense is starting to peak. LR’s offense is complex, much more so than Graham Harrell’s. GH’s offense never pulled linemen, always zone blocked(mostly pass block). His receivers were just told to run to open grass areas. This offense is much more complex. Plus he brought in a whole bunch of new players who had to learn the offense. Really, the only 2 players who understood this offense was Caleb and Mario Williams. I think that they are just starting to master this offense and as a result peaking offensively.
    One of the reasons why this defense has caused so many turnovers is because of the offense. The offense is so good that the other team gets behind early and then their offense can’t run the offense they usually run. They start to press. The QB starts to throw into a crowd because if they have to punt, SC will get the ball and score again and then they(the other team) will be further behind. That may be part of the reason why SC is one of the best teams in the nation in creating turnovers yet they are still only rated 93rd in total defense.

    Like

  20. RB “A” … Jones 177 combined yards, WR “A” … Addison 178 yards, Ford some nice catches, 9 players caught passes (No TE’s). USC 43–38 pass-run ratio.

    Liked by 1 person

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