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And in that corner… The USC Trojans

Oct 16, 2013, 6:01 PM EDT

Tommy Trojan

There is no better intersectional rivalry in college football than the one between Notre Dame and Southern Cal. Started in 1926, and now meeting for the 85th time, the Irish lead the all-time series 44-35, with five ties between the two teams.

With quite a bit of turmoil and uncertainty surrounding the USC football program, I reached out to our old friend Shotgun Spratling to see what exactly is happening around Troy. In between writing at Conquest Chronicles, College Baseball Daily, SCPlaybook Magazine and Neon Tommy, Shotgun had some great insight into this Saturday night’s game.

I asked, he answered. Enjoy.

1) Pat Haden fired Lane Kiffin after just five games. Did he have much of a choice? What were the last two weeks like at USC? Was Thursday night’s win cathartic?

After the Arizona State game, the writing seemed to be on the wall. The same issues that were problematic over the tumultuous final 11 games (4-7) under Kiffin were present in Tempe. USChad trouble blocking up front, struggled to make second-half adjustments and saw breakdowns in the secondary.

Pat Haden likely believed he didn’t have a choice. He had seen what Kiffin could do and knew that a firing was inevitable, so instead of waiting until the end of the year, he went ahead and made the decision sooner rather than later, very similar to his midseason firing of hoops coach Kevin O’Neill earlier this year.

Since the Kiffin firing, there has been a renewed energy and excitement surrounding the team. Interim head coach Ed Orgeron is known for his infectious gravely Cajun voice and for his ability to destroy energy drinks on a regular basis.

His exuberance has permeated the team and spread to the fans as well. He brought back desserts to the training table meals. There was a team movie viewing the night before the Arizona game. Marcus Allen, Keyshawn Johnson and Ray Lewis have spoke with the team. Orgeron allowed the media back into practice, giving fans more access to information. They are all small changes, but it is swinging things back to the Pete Carroll rah-rah, fun culture and people are excited about the rest of the season.

That was on display Thursday night. Though there may have only been 50,000 fans actually in attendance (over 62,000 officially), it was a very boisterous 50K. And Orgeron and offensive coordinator Clay Helton, who was calling plays for the first time with USC, gave the fans what they wanted — downfield passing, using the middle of the field and giving several players opportunities to make plays.

2) Help me understand what’s going on with the Trojan defense. Statistically, they do some very impressive things. Yet they’ve also turned in two really mediocre performances in a row, albeit against two solid offenses.

How has Clancy Pendergast done in his first season running the defense?

USC’s defense has indeed been enigmatic. After shutting down Boston College’s Andre Williams, one of the best backs in the country this season, and the dynamic Chuckie Keaton of Utah State, the Trojans showed huge flaws against the Arizona schools.The biggest issue has been the secondary, just as it was last season. Clancy Pendergast relies on an attacking defense and when he brings extra defenders, that leaves a porous secondary in one-on-one situations — the exact goal of the spread option attack.

The key is getting pressure on the quarterback, which has been hit and miss. Leonard Williams and George Uko have been beasts on the line. Outside linebackers Morgan Breslin and Devon Kennard have made some big plays, but Breslin has missed two games already and is questionable this weekend.

Combine Breslin and a couple of defensive backs being banged up with USC’s scholarship limitations and there is a noticeable difference in the defense’s performance late in games. On the season, opponent’s offensive scoring increases each quarter from only 7 first quarter points to 46 in the fourth quarter.

While there are some technique issues with the Trojans struggling to contain the read option and the jet sweeps Arizona State ran successfully in the second half, depth issues are a legit concern. Give Pendergast a full roster of USC-caliber defenders that he is able to rotate in more freely and I think there is a noticeable difference from what we have seen the last two games.

3) It looks like injuries are once again killing the Trojans. Marqise Lee is questionable. A half-dozen other contributors could be limited. How bad is it? Will the luck of the Irish once again come in the form of a depleted USC roster.

Along with some of the defensive depth issues I touched on above, the Trojans have been absolutely decimated at the wide receiver position. After Lee went down in the Arizona game, Nelson Agholor and Victor Blackwell, who had previously missed time, were the only two scholarship receivers on the roster. Walk-ons George Katrib and Robby Kolanz had to be used in the regular rotation. USC also lost starting running back Tre Madden and future NFL tight end Xavier Grimble in the first half of that game.

The good news, however, is that the team is getting healthy. Senior running back Silas Redd returned from knee surgery last week. Receivers Darreus Rogers and De’Von Flournoy have returned to full practice this week. Lee has returned to practice in a limited role but expects to play Saturday. Grimble is probable and cornerback Anthony Brown should be back for the first time since the season opener.

Besides Lee, the biggest question mark is Breslin. It’s tough having your best offensive and defensive weapons out at the same time, but J.R. Tavai had a monster game in Breslin’s place last Thursday and Agholor proved he can fill Lee’s void if necessary.

4) Let’s get to the quarterback situation. It looks like Cody Kessler is playing better football after a pretty so-so start. What did the Trojans do differently against Arizona? After beating out Max Wittek, what’s Kessler’s ceiling? Is he a guy that can be a star, or is he keeping the position warm?

Kessler was hindered by very conservative playcalling early in the season, but even more so, by poor offensive line play. As I wrote after the Washington State loss, there were a number of “whiff” blocks that killed the Trojans. As the offensive line started to come together, the playbook opened up a bit. But against Arizona, Helton forced the issue, pushing the ball down the field to Agholor and using the middle of the field to take advantage of USC’s dynamic tight end duo and the pass-catching ability of the Trojans’ stable of running backs. Tight ends and running backs can be a quarterback’s best friend, so an increase in throws their way will only help Kessler’s development.

Kessler is a vocal leader — whether it’s in the huddle or in organizing offseason workouts this summer. His teammates respect him. While he doesn’t have the prototypical 6-foot-4 frame and rocket arm that Wittek possesses, Kessler can make every college throw and he is accurate on the run, allowing USC to utilize rollouts rather than relying solely on straight dropbacks. Last year’s Gatorade High School Player of the Year, Max Browne, could push Kessler for the starting role next season depending on the new head coach’s assessment of Kessler, but as of now, it’s his job to lose.

5) You’re Pat Haden. Who do you hire? Who on this staff do you keep? With UCLA back on track and the Pac-12 one of the deepest conferences in college football, how important is this decision?

I love being other people. If I’m Pat Haden, I shoot for the moon, the stars and maybe even another galaxy. This is USC — an undisputed top five job in college football. I make inquiries with Nick Saban and David Shaw. I call Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll. Do I expect any of these guys to say yes? Absolutely not, but it never hurts to ask and I want to hear Harbaugh’s reaction. Next I move to Baylor’s Art Briles (imagine the offensive excitement between Briles and basketball coach Andy Enfield), Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Louisville’s Charlie Strong.

The dark horse is Orgeron, who should be considered depending on the Trojans finish. Regardless, he has to be retained. There are very few people that are as revered around USC than Orgeron (and that was before being named interim coach). He is loved by everyone because of his energy and positivity. Plus, he’s a damn good recruiter and defensive line coach.

This is a huge decision because USC is known for its football. It’s even more imperative with UCLA trending upward. Traditionally the two schools are never strong at the same time. Why not? Who knows? But how much fun would it be if the Crosstown Showdown was determining the Pac-12 South at the end of the season every year?

***

You can read more from Shotgun at Conquest Chronicles and follow him on Twitter @ShotgunSpr

  1. mtflsmitty - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Ridding themselves of Kiffin is like having a malignant tumor removed successfully, and realizing you’re going to be back to your old self. Of course there is a renewed sense of excitement. Going to take more than open practices and a face full of pie to improve results for U$C.

    Scores
    At halftime: 17-14 either way
    Final: 37-24 Irish

    • dickasman - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:43 AM

      I wish bk would hire kiffin as OC

      • stedward - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

        We already know how to run bubble screens until red in the face.

  2. knuterocknesghost - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Tommy Rees. For many, THE problem. The “divisive” personality who has split the ND nation assunder. Ahh, why Everett? You were the Chosen One. You were to be the answer for ND’s QB position this season. All hopes dashed. A ruined season. Time for sack cloth and self-flagellation. Better yet, throw the sack cloth on Tommy Rees and let Nude flagellate his hind side.

    One observer’s perspectives.

    Through six games in 2012: EG total yards 1,049; through six games in 2013: TR 1,469.

    Through six games in 2012: EG touchdowns/INTs 4/3; through six games in 2013: TR touchdowns/INTs 13/6.

    “Big games” by EG in the entire season for 2012: Ranked opponents – 2 TDs, 3 INTs. Unranked 10 TDs/3 INTs. Total yards in 2012 against Michigan at home by EG: 30 with two INTs and no TDs.

    “Big games” by TR in 2013 through only six games: Ranked opponents – 2 TDs, 3 INTs. Unranked 11 TDs, 3 INTs. Total yards in 2013 by TR against Michigan at Michigan: 314 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs (the last INT wasn’t his fault).

    Total offensive points by ND in 2012 through first six games: 164. Total offensive points by ND in 2013 through first six games 164.

    Now……

    Throwing mud at this comparison because TR is a 4th year starter in 2013 and EG was a red shirt freshman in 2012 misses the point. ND won 12 games last year with a quarterback position that was far from being solid, and depended on Rees coming in to bailout EG in the Purdue, Michigan, and Stanford games (yes, that was a great catch by TJ against Stanford- but then EG threw several up from grabs last year and lucked out on a few TD’s himself).

    Are BK’s offensive play calling and TR’s playmaking the real issue? May I humbly venture to ask where’s the defense?

    • nudeman - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      Even I’m getting tired of the QB crap.
      Anyone who’s watched more than 15 min of football in their lives can see there is a huge difference in talent and upside with Golson and Rees.

      There isn’t a single person reading this, including you, who really believes Rees is the equal of Golson. No one. And if you actually are trying to say that the Irish are better off with Rees at QB, then … wow.

      • viktory2013 - Oct 17, 2013 at 4:32 AM

        Yup. It amazes me how watching qb’s throughout the country on Saturdays playing with speed and athleticism, passing with pinpoint accuracy and making use of sharp instincts, but then having ND fans gloating about how well Tommy Rees is playing!!! Are we watching the same game??!! Have you never seen film of Theismann, Montana, or even Jarious Jackson, for that matter?? Ever hear of Terry Hanratty or Tom Clements?? Tony Rice? Those guys were ND quarterbacks…Tommy Rees is the neighborhood paperboy playing backyard touch football.

      • mtflsmitty - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:17 AM

        I doubt KRG is saying TR is better. But I think he offers some interesting fact-based insights suggesting the problem is more multi-threaded than we care to explore. I think it’s far more complicated than than looking at the carefully selected stats KRG uses. But I have to admit, I would have never guessed there would be any stats (other than W-L ratio) that could have favored TR.

        Tommy is on pace for 12 ints, and I don’t think he’s had any fumbles so far.

        Question to Nude and others who primarily blame TR and BK for the mediocre performance thus far: in August if you could have known TR would have 6 turnovers through six games and 12 for the year, would you have felt pretty damn good about it?

        I’m not suggesting that’s the only criteria for success. But the big concern before the season began was if Tommy Turnover could improve over his 2011 debacle.

        Interested in your feedback.

      • nudeman - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:14 AM

        First, I have written many times that TR is not the #1 problem. That award goes to the complete lack of speed on defense. Aside from Jaylon Smith, there isn’t a single guy in the LB/DB group about whom you’d say “wow; he’s quick”. That play against UM where seemingly the entire D converged on Gallon then crashed into each other trying to make a tackle was all about every one of them being a step slow in getting into position.

        Secondly, I also remember saying before the season that if Rees could keep the turnovers to 4 or less, they’d be in great shape; 5-8, just OK; and over 8 not so good. So no, I wouldn’t have been cool with 12 turnovers.

        Lastly, in Rees’ defense, BK and Martin haven’t helped. Game plans that have him throwing the ball 30+ times when they have 5 good RBs and a solid OL are just stupid and they’ve paid the price by losing a couple games they could have won. I think he only threw it 24 times vs OK (completing 9, thank you) but he’d have exceeded 30 had they not been killed in time of possession.

        In the end, this weekend will, IMO, definitively answer the question about whether this team really is getting better or not. I’m not convinced because their main problems are still there: Speed on D, Tommy Rees, playcalling.

      • knuterocknesghost - Oct 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        Nude…. Read my post again…. or take a reading comprehension course. Never said in my post that Rees had more upside than Golson. In fact, I pointedly said that would be missing my entire point. I’m only saying that the difference in the strength of the qb position between this year and last in terms of outcome (measured by points on the board if you like) or with respect to other key stats is nil. If points on the board is not the ultimate comparison of how effective your offense is, than you tell me what is?

        As for your constantly harping on the lack of speed in the secondary, better look up the 40 times for Bennet Jackson, Shumate, Farley & Co. Collingsworth is the outliner at 4.7. But most of our DBs are faster or equal Harrison Smith’s time in the 40 (4.55) who was drafted in the first round and 29th overall. He hasn’t been too shabby in playing safety for the Vikings. Jackson reportedly runs a 4.44. How many sub 4.4 WRs do you think are out there? The lack of speed by our DBs is not the issue.

        I do agree on the need for speed with our linebacking corp. Still, Manti wasn’t exactly a barn burner either. And how many INTs did he have last year? Film study made up for his lack of Jaylon Smith type quickness.

        And yes, you bring TR up as often as anyone here. Apparently you get a free pass, or If you don’t think you still harp on TR, then apparently Sybil was your grandmother.

        Nude,… you love thinking you’re the oracle of this blog .. our own Delphic seer. What else explains your constant condescension (and you’re taking offense from criticism leveled against your throwing a few F-bombs). After all, this is your sacred ground. Apparently, there must be a lot of dead disemboweled animals buried in your backyard.

    • txirish2 - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:36 PM

      Now compare the number of first downs that each quarterback picked up on their feet.

      • nudeman - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:45 PM

        OK, I’ll get ‘er started:
        Rees: 0 (but only 3.5 years of data)

      • knuterocknesghost - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        2012 – 164 points in the first six games. 2013 – 164 points in the first six games. Do I care about whether EG as QB ran for more first downs to get to 164 points in 2012 (with a little help from TR remember?) than in 2013? Yish.

      • knuterocknesghost - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        …….(with a little help from TR remember?) than Tommy Rees did in 2013? Yish again.

  3. ndnphx - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    Oh boy, I’d forgotten that Pendergast was USC’s D-coordinator. A bombs away, Jon Tenuta kind of guy. Blitz, blitz, blitz.

    Which means we could see a whole evening of TR throwing deep balls against press man coverage. How’s that been working out for us? Gotta hope our game plan changes that up. Screens and draw plays work really well against all-out pressure, too, and so do quick throws to a hot receiver.

    And why did they have to put a picture of that G*damned horse at the top of this article…

    • nducsb - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      ndnphx… you did watch last game, right? AZ State Blitzed, and blitzed, and blitzed… and our Offensive line ::Gasp:: picked it up almost every time, and ::another gasp:: I saw a short out route by TJ Jones over and over again… being completed! instead of the bomb, after bomb, after bomb we were used to. Lets hope BK figured it out.
      I do agree with you on the screen pass… I swear ND is the only team I haven’t seen try to use the RB screen pass at least ONCE this year… can Tommy not make that pass or something???? It’s to the point that if we used it, it would be considered a trick play.

      • nudeman - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        Would not surprise me in the least if Rees can’t reliably throw a screen

      • knuterocknesghost - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:13 PM

        Nude at it again. Love seeing him prove my point about his TR bashing.

      • knuterocknesghost - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        You’ve got a following here Nude. And harping on TR is your cause celebre that keeps on winning plaudits for you.

        Sorry to the rest of you for sinking down to Nude’s level. I’ll end here with my own condensension of the Nude guy.

  4. jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    How do you pronounce the SC coach’s name? Is it like when dickasman says to his buddy Ron,”Hey wanna have an orgy Ron?” Is that how you say it? Is it?

    • dickasman - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:46 AM

      That’s kinda gay dude. U never mention his name, that’s too freaky. Say hey babe or hey yo, iz u wanna git down. I can tell you’ve never had orgies w escorts. A lotta baby sittin around here w these rookies.

  5. knuterocknesghost - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Glad to read report quoting Tuitt that he’s returning next season for his senior year.

  6. getsome99 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Re: Rockne’s ghost,

    👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

  7. upthera44 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    TUITTTTTTTTTTTTTT

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9836529/stephon-tuitt-notre-dame-fighting-irish-says-return-final-year

  8. getsome99 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Everything he said about the defense is exactly what I’ve seen and already heard from people in LA. Weak secondary, lack of depth, but solid D line who can get to the QB.

    However, he’s delusional to think Pat Haden would even consider bringing back Pete Carroll. WTF?! Isn’t Carroll the one who got USC into this mess to begin with? And then bailed during the sanction years? And he’s supposed to be a candidate now that their coming off sanctions? Typical USC homer. Art Briles? Forgetaboutit. Kevin Sumlin, maybe.

    As for Kiffin. Let’s be honest. He wasn’t Haden’s hire and really had no shot once Haden arrived. But to pretend like it was Kiffin’s fault that USC has sucked the past two years is not fair. I’m not a Kiffin fan but he hasn’t had much to work with in terms of recruiting.

    Kiffin took a job that nobody really wanted, although it was still better than any other job he wasn’t going to be able to get. The problem was he never expected Mike Garrett to get fired. Haden used him for as long as he could until the sanctions were close enough to be lifted to start rebuilding with a new coach.

    It’s pretty obvious by the way Haden fired Kiffen that he had been planning for that day since the day he stepped foot on campus.

    Irish – 30 something
    USC – 10-19

    • thunderingherdsec11 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      LOL – These are the same type of score predictions ND fans had when Carroll was coach. We all know how accurate that was. This year however ND should win. We are a team searching for an identity. You have to remember that both Kiffin and Coach O were part of Carroll’s staff. Coach O was ALWAYS the more emotionally charged. Kiffin was X’s and O’s and a great recruiter. I’m sorry to see that go but a change was necessary. The play calling was horrible and Kiffin would not give that up and there we ZERO halftime adjustments.

      As for your comment about Pete Carroll. Pete didn’t get anybody in a mess nor did he bail. Without getting into too much detail on that also remember that no evidence STILL was provided that SC knew of any illegal benefit Bush and his family was receiving. I would love for Pete to come back but he’s doing too well in the NFL. It would not be good for ND fans if he did come back.

      Here’s to an injury free game.

      Fight On for ol’ SC!

      • nudeman - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        You honestly think Carroll didn’t know the boom was about to be lowered and that wasn’t a factor in his leaving? Come on …

      • getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:03 PM

        😂😂😂😂😂

      • c4evr - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        The play calling was horrible and there were zero halftime adjustments… now where have i heard that before?

  9. bjc378 - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    This may have been discussed elsewhere, but how could that clown Willingham have been picked for the playoff committee?

    • papadec - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      378 – you are a lot kinder in your description of “that clown” than I am.

    • dickasman - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:51 AM

      Cuz he blak n they needed a blak man in there for affirmative action jacksion. People will say omg so many blacks play we need a black on the panel. Whitey say ok but just one, just to reprezent! Love me some synthetic affirm action like the Rooney rule.

    • c4evr - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      Please, for the love of God, don’t already be whining about something that hasn’t even happened yet. If ND deserves a playoff shot, it will be evident on the field. Would all the missed/bad calls, ‘what ifs’, everyone hates us because we’re ND, and ‘Kelly’s saving his best stuff for fill-in-the-blank’ believers please find another place to post their swill.

  10. frankb51 - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Good evening to all: Now I know why I tape these games rather than watch them live. I think it has to do with my latest blood pressure readings.

    Welcome to the tommy rees/ bennett jackson comedy hour. I just witnessed part of jackson’s “stellar performance” agains OU. Please someone tell me I missed something good he did?

    May I ask this question again? Can you be a captain from the bench? BK has no choice but to live with TR, especially since he will not allow hendrix to spread his wings. But there are many alternatives to Jackson, speed means absolutely nothing if you run around the field- lost! And anyone who wishes to support this guy, is just as lost as he is.

    To knuterocknesghost: great info and compilation of stats. you make a good point about the defense, especially the secondary. However with an average quarterback who forces many throws, and BK’s somewhat bizzare offensive calls (when he assumes command), only puts the defense on the field longer; and we all know what that leads to.

  11. getsome99 - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Re: Stephon Tuitt,

    I really hope this means he’s committing himself to a long and successful career in the NFL. Already considered a Top 15 pick, I think he’s exposed himself to some areas of improvement that could possibly make himself the #1 draft pick in the 2015 draft. He will need to dedicate himself to the weight room and lean down to about 290 pounds while also adding strength and muscle, but I think he can do it. He needs to start working out with Troy Niklas.

    What this means for ND? It means we’re going to be stacked next year. Which should have been the plan from day one. Last year was a little premature for where this program actually is. 10-2 is probably where we initially hoped we would be by Kelly’s 4th season. The miraculous 2012 season fooled us in to believing the hype and expecting more than we’ve gotten so far. Maybe Tuitt can talk Nix in to coming back too? Still need to get some MLB and NT help to make us complete, but we’re getting very close.

    Not trying to think too far ahead and take things for granted as we’ve all learned from Golson this year, but if we can get to 10-2 and a bowl win this year, we’re right on track.

    • nudeman - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      Glad he’s coming back.
      The hernia surgery obviously has wrecked his jr. year.

      As an NFL player, what is Tuitt?
      Most teams play a 4/3, so in that scheme is he a DT or DE?
      I like the idea of a slimmed down Tuitt to 290 or so.
      Seems he’d be a hell of an edge rusher. Great Julius Peppers replacement.

      • bigjdeezy - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:56 AM

        Tuitt posted on twitter shortly after the article came out “not to believe everything you read goodnight” I don’t know what to make of that but he’s mother has said he’s going to stay and graduate but who knows that this point

      • getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        No, he is not. But it doesn’t matter because this team is only going to go far as the defense takes them. Even if Golson had played lights out, we still couldn’t tackle Eddie Lacy.

  12. getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Re: Nudeman,

    In my 10,000 comments this month, I’ve never once said or implied (with a straight face) that we’re better off with Rees as our QB than Golson. All I’ve been saying is QB play has NOT been THE achilles heal for this program. Going all the way back to 2005. If Tommy Rees were the QB in 2007, we would have still gone 3-9. Our mediocrity has been due to lack of elite defensive talent and depth, and also a lack of fundamentals and discipline that seems to have carried over from the Weis era.

    • nudeman - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      If you see what I wrote above, I agree. The #1 problem is speed on defense.
      But Tommy Rees is #2. He really is not a very good QB.
      Against the Navys of the world, he’s a 6.
      Against the UMs and OKs and maybe the USCs, he’s a 2.

      • 1historian - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:43 AM

        #2 is Andrew Hendrix, and he hasn’t shown anything this year.
        #3 is Malik Zaire, and they are desperately trying to red-shirt him, although that may not work.
        Will Golson be back next year? Who knows?

        Is the offense that difficult to figure out? Texas A&M played a redshirt freshman last year and he won the Heisman.

        Simplify the offense, get a smarter QB or both. Rees is doing his best but he is just not that good and his deficiencies are plain as day and it is not difficult for a defensive coordinator to plan an attack based on his deficiencies.

      • getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:05 PM

        My bad. Meant to put that here.

        No, he is not. But it doesn’t matter because this team is only going to go far as the defense takes them. Even if Golson had played lights out, we still couldn’t tackle Eddie Lacy.

  13. getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    @ txirish,

    Up until the MIA game, Golson’s rushing numbers were’t as good as you would think. Golson took a lot of sacks early in the season and even fumbled on a couple occasions. Granted, his mobility is still a huge benefit and can’t exactly be measured by stats.

  14. getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    In a 4-3, he’d have to be a DT. 4-3 DE’s like Cam Wake and Demarcus Ware are in the 258 lb range.

    • dickasman - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:55 AM

      In 6-9 he would be the schlong, wouldn’t he?

  15. getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    Then again, Peppers would be a good comparison if he got shredded.

    • dickasman - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:53 AM

      Peppers crazy bastard. He was on ecstasy workin out in 100degree sun out in AZ. He’s just not human.

  16. viktory2013 - Oct 17, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    Kiffin was fired because the team disliked him and after half assing most of the season, quit altogether during the ASU game. Haden figured he had to do something fast before the season totally disintegrated. No one like Saban or Harbaugh would even consider leaving their top flight jobs for SC, but someone like Briles or Sarkisian probably would if offered.

    • 1historian - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:50 AM

      Have to disagree – I think that Haden is already being bombarded with job for the gig. USC is one of the premier coaching jobs in college football, along with Notre Dame, Alabama, Ohio State and a few others. Given that and some of the talent they already have and their coming off the penalties that is a plum coaching job.

  17. getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    Kiffin was fired because Haden didn’t like him. They have ZERO chance at getting Art Briles.

  18. danirish - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    JUST WIN BABY! GO IRISH!

    Off topic BUT, I’m from UGA country and all my old buddies being Dawg fans are gonig absolutely nuts! Checking the stats, the Dawgs defense is ranked 90th! Has given up 82 points in the last two games and is TIED with 3 other teams with ONE interception – 1!

    Hence to say that when I was complaining about the Irish defenseive issues, they were not sympathetic!

  19. 1historian - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Haden was smart to fire Giffin when he did. This season was pretty much a bust when he did it so he has the rest of the season to go through the applications for the position, and with USC coming off the suspensions and penalties and the talent they already have there they are poised to get better fast and that plus the prestige of the job means that Haden will have some fine coaches to choose from come the end of this season.

  20. NotreDan - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    I really wish you guys would learn how to you the “reply” button instead of the goofy “@”. That way, the board stays more organized. It’s not a defeat to reply to someone you disagree with.

    • andy44teg - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      @ getsome

  21. jpwills19 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Just checked in for my flight to Chicago. Who will be there and where?

    • nudeman - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      In Chicago but not at the game.
      Wanna have a beer Fri night on near north side, let me know

      • jpwills19 - Oct 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        Thanks for the invite, but we are landing at 1 and driving straight to campus. Maybe next time, I’d like to meet you and some others in person some time.

  22. nducsb - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Does anyone else think Orgeron sounds JUST like the coach no one can understand in “Water Boy”?

  23. getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    No reply option on phone apps. Sorry, I know this sucks because my comments can get taken out of context when bantering with specific people.

    Regarding Haden firing Kiffin, I’m sure he wanted to do it from day one, but who was he going to replace him with at that time with reduced scholarships for the next 3 years?

    Regarding Pete Carroll:

    He’s the head coach who decides who sits and who plays. He may not have been directly involved, but he had to be aware of the suspicion surrounding certain players that he chose to play. He took the risk, so ultimately he’s responsible. There is no rule against a player accepting money from agents. The rule is they can’t play once this occurs.

    Remember Steve Alford’s calendar fiasco when he was a junior at IU. It was 7:00 on a Friday night when Coach Knight found out about it and the NCAA admin offices were closed and IU had a road game against Kentucky the following afternoon. Since Knight didn’t want to take a chance on playing UK with an ineligible player, he kicked Alford off the team bus and IU lost the game by 3 points.

    Coaches today don’t seem to that this precaution as they just want to win now and cross that bridge when they get there. There was smoke all around the USC football program and Carroll played the ignorance card and played players who were ultimately declared ineligible. He then bailed on the program as the NCAA investigation was coming to a close and the writing was on the wall. He milked it to the end like Haden did with Kiffin.

  24. getsome99 - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Re: screen passes,

    If only GAIII could catch a screen pass.

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