Well, it took me 2 days but I finally made it through all of the USC game. I can only wonder how many times I would watch it if it wasn’t a busy week. Anyway, I came away with a few more thoughts that I’ll share before putting this game to rest and moving on to this week’s opponent, Arizona State.
- Let’s start with the worst part of the game, the rushing defense. There’s no denying that they were terrible. After watching it again, it was very clear that the problems weren’t because of a lack of schemes. They tried just about everything. They put at least 8 guys in the box every time. I counted 10 guys in the box for several plays. 10 guys! They also tried a 3-4 several times to be a little more athletic. The problem was with what was happening on the field. The defensive line was terrible. Ta’amu played a decent game, but the rest of the defensive line was awful. There were guys getting pushed back 5-10 yards every play. Then, the linebackers seemed a bit timid. They didn’t attack the runner for most of the game, they let the runner come to them. By the time the runner got there, those linebackers were blocked. I understand that they can’t completely sell out against the run because they have to watch for play-action, but their reaction time does need to be quicker. Last but not least, the tackling was terrible. It was just as bad as it was against Nebraska, if not worse. I was on a mission to count the missed tackles but I lost track. I lost track at the end of the first quarter.
- One more negative thought on the defense before we move to brighter spots. I think several players had the worst game of their career on Saturday. Nate Fellner had one great pass break-up, but the rest of the game he struggled. He was sucked into the wrong position and missed quite a few tackles. Quinton Richardson missed an easy sack on Barkley because he forgot he had arms on the play. He was taken out after that, I’ll be interested to see if he plays as much the rest of this season. Where is Adam Long? Cort Dennison looked a little rusty and slow after missing the Nebraska game. Those players, along with the defensive line, were beaten up pretty well on Saturday. Thank goodness we have Mason Foster.
- With all that, give credit to the defense for not allowing a touchdown in the 4th quarter. They buckled down and made some stops. There’s no doubt they need to get better, but they made some plays that kept the Huskies in the game.
More thoughts after the jump.
- The offensive line played really well. They allowed one sack but that was because of a lack of communication, not just getting beat. There were holes to run through and more blockers down-field than there have been all season. Senio Kelemete showed why the coaches rave about him so often, he played his best game yet.
- The coaches brought in Daniel Kanczugowski at tight end quite often to help with blocking. This seemed effective and something we will probably see more often on short yardage situations.
- Daniel Kancugowski leads me to my next point, I thought on Saturday that Keith Price to Chris Izbicki might be the least likely touchdown combo the Huskies have. But, could you imagine Keith Price to Daniel Kancugowski? How awesome would that be. For the record, that was a great play-call by Sark on that Price touchdown pass.
- As good as the offense was, they could have been a lot better. Sark said yesterday that he thought the offense left around 100 yards out there by not executing. I’d say it might be more than that. Locker missed two throws, both to Aguilar that could have gone for touchdowns. Aguilar dropped a 20 yard pass from Jake in the 4th quarter, that would have resulted in a first down. Chris Polk dropped a pass in the 4th that would have gone for a touchdown, I think. Kearse dropped… Well, Kearse deserves his own bullet point.
- Kearse played an amazing 3 quarters. His best play came on a 3rd and 14 screen pass in which he bounced off numerous defenders in order to convert the first down. After that play, it appeared that he suffered a cramp in his calf. Then, Kearse dropped 3 straight passes to him. They weren’t tough catches. It was weird. Maybe he just wanted to make the game more interesting? Maybe his calf was bothering him? I wouldn’t worry about him though.
- It’s hard not to feel good for D’Andre Goodwin. He had his best game in a couple years and maybe this will be a launching point for the rest of the season. He had more catches than I realized after watching the game again. That 4th and 10 conversion he caught will go down in Husky history.
- Locker played his best game yet. Without the easy dropped passes he would have finished 30-40 with about 400 yards rushing. The play where he juked Shareece Wright and then went on to run for 20 yards was my second favorite play of the game.
- My favorite play of the game was when Izbicki tripped and fell while trying to catch a pass from Jake that would have been a touchdown. He got a little twisted around and couldn’t quite get to the ball, it was hilarious. He actually tripped a couple of times. It was great.
- Erik Folk is awesome.
Thanks for reading! Pac-10 report is coming up in a while.