That was ugly to say the least, but I will attempt to stay somewhat positve.
- I think we saw why Sharpley was #2 behind Clausen most of the year. He looked great in relief against some suspect defenses, but he had the deer int he headlights look most of the game today. I don’t think Clausen would have fared any better though for what it’s worth.
- Armando Allen ran the ball fairly well when given the chance. He made some decent between the tackles runs and I think we got a glimpse, albeit very brief, of what he is capable of if he is given some daylight to run through. This kid has a bright, bright future ahead of him.
- I was a little disappointed with the hands of Parris and Kamara today. They had some chances to make some plays but USC defenders did a good job breaking up some catchable passes. Neither receiver had much space to work with though.
- Liked seeing Chris Stewart get some playing time out there.
- I think (hope) we will see more of Luke Schmidt at fullback over the final four games. Asaph Schwapp whiffed on blocks most of the day and dropped an easy catch on third and short when the game was still close. USC showed us how valuable a fullback can be in an offense and right now, that’s just one of the many elements this offense is missing.
- We need to see more of Golden Tate. Tate got behind the USC defense on the first offensive drive of the game and had six with a good pass. Unfortunately Sharpley overthrew Tate by about five yards. After that play, however, we barely saw Tate. He needs to be on the field a lot more because he is a potential game breaker.
- The offensive line is still missing assignments and letting blitzers run in untouched. There were multiple occasions where two Irish linemen engaged a single USC defender while a blitzer came in untouched to blow up a play.
- I really don’t think the defense played all that bad even though USC scored 38 points – they just got no help from the offense whatsoever.
- Kerry Neal and Brian Smith showed the beneftis and drawbacks of playing freshmen at OLB. Both looked great times off the edge, but both also got taken out of some running plays. Both have very high ceilings though and both will benefit greatly from all of the playing time they are receiving this year.
- David Bruton is a gamer. He pulled up lame with a hammy, but still came back in the second half.
- I’ve said it over and over this year, but give me 11 Pat Kuntz’s on defense any day. The kid simply plays hard from start to finish and never stops. He had another couple blocked passes at the line of scrimmage this week. If Ian Williams can step into the starting nose tackle next year, Kuntz could be an even bigger force as an end in Corwin Brown’s 3-4.
- Vidal Hazelton’s touchdown pretty much sums of Ambrose Wooden’s final two seasons. Not sure what happened to Wooden because he was looking great in 2005, but since then has just fallen off.
- USC really showed us that we need to upgrade our athleticism in the linebacking corps – the USC fullbacks had a field day.
- This game was very typical from the defense – they played tough for a while, but wore out when the offense couldn’t do anything. Some will argue that our defense is capable of getting 3 and outs as well, but anytime you face a team like USC, you know they are going to score some points. With another year and an infusion of some of the talent in next year’s incoming class, this defense definitely has some potential.
- We only kicked off once, but coverage on that lone kickoff was terrible.
- Conversely, our kick return units were poor to say the least. We mishandled multiple kicks and even when we didn’t, there just weren’t lanes there to run through. Weis simply has to make special teams a priority this off-season because we have the return men who can take it the distance if they are given some lanes to run through.
- Bruton’s blocked punt was a pretty outstanding play – he literally caught the ball right off the punters foot.
- The kicking game remains to be a problem as the only field attempt was blocked. The NBC announcers said it was a really low kick, but it looked more like USC just getting some great penetration to me.
- In general, more emphasis needs to be placed on special teams this off-season.