On to Pac-10 play and teams that I know much more about! Here we go! Because of a lack of time I’m going to put these posts into 2 parts, offense and defense.
Quarterback: Matt Barkley plays the quarterback position for the Trojans. He is a True Sophomore and seems to be coming into his own this season. Plus, he’s just so gosh darn cute. The knock on him is that he’s a little bit inconsistent still. He tore apart Hawaii but didn’t look quite as good against Virginia and Minnesota. He threw the ball all over the place against Wazzu but he was also picked off twice. Barkley can force throws but he makes a good share of them. In the next 2 years Barkley will be the best quarterback in the conference but not quite yet. He’s still maturing and hopefully will go through some growing pains on Saturday. He’s enough to scare me and could pick apart the secondary. Although, the UW secondary may be the best he’s played, which is really, really pathetic.
Running Back: The Trojans have played 5 guys at this position. I’d tell you who the starter is for this week but only Kiffen knows, and I wonder if he even knows. Last week, Stanley Havili ran all over WSU. Havili is a big back, the kind that UW has had trouble with in the past. He has played fullback most of his career but is a good power runner. He’s also a good receiver out of the backfield. Marc Tyler is the Trojans leading rusher on the year. He ran for a lot of yards against Hawaii in the opener but has seen a ton of action since then. I don’t know why. Allen Bradford is back there. He’s another big power-back but not quite to the extent of Havili. He does have pretty good speed though. C.J. Gable is there to fill in the Joe McKnight role. I’d say he’s there to fill the Reggie Bush role but he’s not near the player that Bush was in college. Then, there’s true freshman Dillon Baxter. He was close to the top running back recruit in the country last year but he hasn’t really gone off yet. He’s been solid in limited playing time, but not amazing. Any 5 of these guys could kill you. Heck, they probably have someone behind these guys on the depth chart that could kill you too.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: The Trojans have many weapons here too. We’ll start with Ronald Johnson. He’s the leading receiver on the team and also the punt returner. His punt return for a touchdown against Hawaii was a thing of beauty. He has 249 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns on the year. He might be the best skill position player the Trojans have, which is obviously saying something. Robert Woods is their next guy. Woods, a freshman, has caught 13 balls for 175 yards on the year. Barkley does a nice job of spreading the ball around to other guys also. His running backs are used a ton out of the backfield. Brice Butler had a solid year last year, as a receiver, but hasn’t done a ton this year. Keep an eye on him. At tight end, USC has Rhett Ellison. He’s their 4th leading receiver and does a nice job in both aspects, blocking and receiving, of the tight end’s game.
Offensive Line: The Trojans are strong up front. They have averaged over 6 yards a carry this season and have done a pretty nice job of protecting Barkley. Led by center, Kristofer O’dowd, USC returns 3 offensive lineman from last year. This unit wasn’t as good against Virginia and Minnesota but they played really well against WSU. Maybe because it’s WSU or maybe it’s because they’re coming together as a unit. They do lack depth here as opposed to the other offensive positions, but at the moment they’re healthy.
I’ll be back with the defensive scouting in the next couple days. Thanks for reading!