Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A look at USC in 2006: The Offense

Dwayne Jarrett 2005 Orange Bowl

So I finally picked up my first Steele CFB Review. WOW! That’s a lot of information.

The first thing that jumps out is that he has SC going 12-0 in 5 out of his 7 power rankings. Interesting.

I’m not so sure that’s realistic. As I have said in the past SC has lost too much talent on the offense. Without a lot of big game experience I’m worried about the chemistry with all these new faces. There is no doubt that Pete Carroll has the gift of landing big time recruits. And he is legendary at motivating people to perform with his “if you’re good enough, you’ll start” philosophy that has produced some exciting players to watch over the years. These are my thoughts. Note: Any references to stats are Steele’s.

Today The Offense:

  • Is JDB’s back ready to take the day in and day out pounding that he would receive as the teams #1 starter? If not there is no doubt that Mark Sanchez has the talent but he lacks the game experience as well. If Booty’s back is suspect that would move Sanchez to #1 which would mean 3rd stringer McDonald would have to get his chops up to be available to step in at a moments notice.

  • Last years Offensive line was probably the best in the country. They gave up 17 sacks (3.5%) and primed the running game with a punishing 6 yards per carry. This years offensive line has only 2 starters returning, C Ryan Kalil and LT Sam Baker. Obviously the O line will not be as dominant as last years but they should be a solid unit and will get the job done. With LG Jeff Byers returning from a hip injury he will add some game experience and help shore up the backside. RG Chilo Rachal will start on the right side and his significant playing time last year will also provide some stability. RT will either be Kyle Williams or Charles Brown. TE Fred Davis had moderate contributions last year and has some big shoes to fill with the loss of Dominque Byrd.

  • The running back situation will be the most intriguing to watch. Now that Washington is academically eligible we should finally see just how good he is. Hershel Dennis is out with an ACL tear and I feel we will never see him in a Trojan uniform again. Desmond Reed is still a question with his torn knee ligaments that he suffered in last years ND game. SR Ryan Powdrell will also see some action as will Michael Coleman. Incoming freshman RB’s Emmanuel Moody and CJ Gable will put Coach Carroll’s philosophy to the test.

  • Provided that Booty settles into Sarkisian and Kiffin’s scheme and he has the time to throw the receiving corps will be something to watch. Jarrett is the lynch pin of the receivers. His size makes him a big target and he uses his size to get the advantage on those who cover. The two plays that stand out for me were the 4th and 9 play against ND and his TD catch in the 4th qtr. of the Rose Bowl where he gets up high on 2 Longhorn defenders. He’s a special player. Steve Smith is returning for his senior season. After having a great game against OU in the 2005 Orange Bowl he lived in Jarrett’s shadow last year and had about the same year as he had in 2004. He needs to have a big year if wants to go high in next years draft. SR Chris McFoy had a better year in 2004 than he did in 2005 and will see some action. Is Patrick Turner the next Jarrett? We will find out this year, as his playing duties will increase. He has got the size and the talent and he had a decent year as a freshman but he needs to concentrate more on hanging on to the ball, he had a number of drops last year. Of the 5 incoming freshman receivers Vidal Hazelton is sure to shine provided he keeps his grades up. He too will test Carroll’s philosophy.

There is definitely some potential here to stay near the top in polls in the coming season. I don’t think they will go undefeated but I do think they will win the Pac-10. I am concerned about the first game against Arkansas. Coming off the Rose Bowl loss and team chemistry will be the challenge for the first game. Other games that concern me are Arizona on 9/23 and Cal on 11/18.

Tomorrow the Defense.

UPDATE 6/28/06: I'll work on the defense over the weekend


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