Monday, August 23, 2010
PAC 10-USC Trojans
2009 Record: 9-4 (5-4)
Head Coach: Lane Kiffin (1st season, 0-0...7-6 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kiffin and Kennedy Pola (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Monte Kiffin (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Emerald Bowl, defeated Boston College 24-13
Offense: USC was not quite the offensive juggernaught that they have been known to be in 2009, and so they will look to build themselves back under a new coach, yet with a similar system, as Kiffin wasn't that far removed from having been the OC here. Matt Barkley had a decent, but not great, freshman season. Mitch Mustain remains as backup, but can be labeled as one of the biggest college busts in history. Allen Bradfield is listed as the #1 back coming into the fall, but freshman Dillon Baxter will grab the job full time at some point. Ronald Johnson is really the lone game breaking WR that the Trojans have, but have some young depth at that spot. 3 starters return on the line, but the real story is the one that got away when super recruit Seantrell Henderson bailed out on the Trojans when sanctions were handed down from the Reggie Bush case.
Defense: The entire secondary will have to be replaced. DE Armond Armstead and DT Jurrell Casey return to anchor the line, but NT Christian Tupuo blew his knee in the spring and is out for 2010. The LB corps is all set with Malcolm Smith, Chris Galippo, and Michael Morgan, but Galippo needs to be better than he was a season ago, as he has fallen under the impression that one can dominate on ego and reputation alone.
Special Teams: Joe Houston looks to have one the battle for the PK spot, but will be replaced on long FG tries by P Jake Harfman. John Baxter comes over from Fresno State to coach this unit, and he is known for aggressive, attacking units. FSU blocked 49 FGs during his tenure there.
Wins: 9/2 @ Hawaii, 9/11 Virginia, 9/18 @ Minnesota, 9/25 @ Washington State, 10/16 California, 11/6 Arizona State
Toss Up Games: 10/2 Washington, 10/9 @ Stanford, 10/30 Oregon, 11/13 @ Arizona, 11/20 @ Oregon State, 11/27 Notre Dame, 12/4 @ UCLA
There are many questions, with one being how motivated will the Trojans be knowing that there will be no bowl due to sanctions? The Trojans are still a team to contend with, but many of the toss box games were wins a season ago. This trend sshows how beatable and vulnerable the Trojans are.
Outlook: Change is the order of the day in South Central. There are question marks all over the field, but no question looms larger than how will the Trojans react to heavy sanctions. USC is down to 71 scholarship players from 85 last season, and they lose 30 scholarships during the duration of the penalty. The schedule outof conference is very easy, but the Trojans are showing some chinks in the armor. If you want t beat them, beat them now.