Morning Buzz: USC-Utah Report Card

QUARTERBACK

Caleb Williams was on track for a huge game until his hamstring popped. Then he became just another QB. He’ll win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night but Lincoln Riley should have at least taken him out for a series or two to see what difference a healthy QB would have made.

Grade: C-

RUNNING BACK

Was USC unable to run or did Lincoln Riley refuse to? Austin Jones averaged 2.1 yards per carry in one of the worst team rushing performances for the Trojans this season.

Grade: D

WIDE RECEIVER

The good news was 10 different players caught passes. The bad news was no one exactly had a dominating performance. If you take away Jordan Addison’s 48-yard reception (where the cornerback fell), he had four receptions for 17 yards.

Grade: C+

OFFENSIVE LINE

The easy excuse is to focus on the absence of Andrew Vorhees. But the entire line was manhandled by Utah’s defense and some season-long shortcomings became exposed once Caleb Williams lost his ability to miraculously avoid the pass rush. Some portrayed the line as a team strength this season. This game showed what a farce that idea was.

Grade: F

DEFENSIVE LINE

Not a great sign when two Utah tailbacks each averaged eight yards per carry. Or that Cameron Rising was sacked just one time. They were pushed around just a week after shutting down Notre Dame’s running game.

Grade: D+

LINEBACKERS

The transfer portal is going to be vital here to upgrade especially after the departure of Ralen Goforth. USC needs more linebackers like Eric Gentry because it’s uncertain right now the defensive line will be any better next season.

Grade: D

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Who teaches these guys how to tackle? If they were trying to strip the ball instead of tackle, the coaches should have done something about it. This wasn’t the first time the secondary looked silly this season. It’s what happens when you play soft zone most of the game.

Grade: F

SPECIAL TEAMS

It didn’t impact the game but Tuasivi Nomura’s lateral over the head of Raleek Brown on a kick return was inexplicable. One more example of USC needing a special teams coach.

Grade: C-

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COACHING

In a big game, Lincoln Riley made questionable decisions, like going for it on fourth-and-8 in the first half and a run on third-and-18. Worse was USC punting with 17 seconds left on the play clock and 1:50 in the half, which helped allow Utah to score a late TD. The defense couldn’t figure out how to tackle and still couldn’t cover a tight end. Alex Grinch needs a long look in the mirror.

Grade: F

29 thoughts on “Morning Buzz: USC-Utah Report Card

  1. Wolf, Two questions:
    1) Why have you still not done a report card for the win over Notre Dame?
    2) Did you get a woody writing this one?

    Like

  2. Riley inherited something [a 4-8 something] which he had to shape into a team with spit and bubblegum [and the transfer portal]. It’s amazing that it worked at all —let alone went 11-2. When his playmaker [and best o-lineman] went down there was little he could do to help out his receivers or running back. The something he inherited slipped back into nothing…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. FOR MY MONEY
      RILEY DID ONE HELLUVA GOOD JOB

      HE GAVE US A SEASON TO REMEMBER

      THRILLS CHILLS AND HEARTACHES

      THERES NO FEELING LIKE WINNING————-
      OR LOSING

      THANX COACH

      LETS DO IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR
      WITH A HAPPIER ENDING

      FIGHT ON !!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. YES! RILEY BEAT VERY GOOD OREGON STATE AND WASHINGTON STATE AND FRESNO STATE TEAMS ……… HE ALSO BEAT OUR TWO RIVALS BACK TO BACK, UCLA AND NOTRE DAME…..
        “I DID SOME BAD, I DID SOME GOOD —I DID A WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT I WOULD…SO COME ON AND TREAT ME LIKE YOU SHOULD!”
        —-Don McClean

        Liked by 1 person

      2. GT: “HE GAVE US A SEASON TO REMEMBER”

        Well said! I wouldn’t agree with you more. Adding #13 to the peristyle will be our lasting reminder.

        #BeatTheGreenWave!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Scott: “Everybody please forgive me. This is the report card I’ve been dreaming of since September. I couldn’t very well hand it out after the 1 point loss —it wouldn’t work. But after a blowout [caused by circumstances beyond USC’s control] ….ah!”
    #NothingNewAboutATeamFoldingWhenFranchisePlayerGoesOut..
    Proviso: Scott is right about bringing Moss in for a series to see what would happen after Caleb got flattened 2 times in a row in the 3rd quarter. What did we have to lose at that point by experimenting? At the least it would have given Caleb a breather.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha! Grand!
      “Riley’s desperate insertion of an untried QB into a Championship Game will be remembered as Infamy Ball!”

      Like

  4. The only ding I’d give Riley, was not pulling Caleb for at least one series He knew Caleb was hurt, but kept him in while not using his backup. The problem with this ding is that at less than 50%, Caleb was still able to work some magic.
    So the best coach since the sanction era took a gamble. His grade still be an A based on his body of work.
    As for the defense, they were slow at times but NEVER gave up. This fact alone makes them better than the sanctions era defenses. Maybe a C or average for their work. They gave up some big plays, but also made some good stops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tulane sits in the middle of the dump, known as New Orleans……I heard you have a lot of Kin-folk in that area……sweet!

      #Que: “I love my cucumber”

      Like

      1. I was actually on the campus of Tulane University once, looking for a restroom. I found one. Now I know where the Greenwave comes from. (I initially thought it was Gatorade). But Owns is right I’ll bet anyone who hasn’t heard of the school might think you’re referring to the Main Street out of Westwood; Two lane street is a crowded Blvd.

        Like

  5. The grade for the LB’s should be bumped up to the “B” range because of Goforth’s big time hit on QB Rising that popped off his helmet.

    #BestLickSinceMaualugaDestroyedUCLAQBPatrickCowan

    #USC’sDShouldHaveAtLeastOneHitLikeThatInEveryGame

    Like

  6. My main objection to Scott’s comments are that this game proves the offensive line wasnt good all season long. Vorhees missing the game and shuffling the pieces was a huge problem against a really good d-line AND a qb that was immobile and holds onto the ball too long. Riley took too long to adjust and move to shorter pass routes. It does prove that this o-line had no depth.

    Why hasnt Cortland Ford put his name in the transfer portal yet? I feel like there are quite a few transfers still to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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