Celebrating the Good/Bad of Trojan Football

USC football midseason report: What’s gone right and wrong for the Trojans

Ryan Kartje (LA Times)  —  By the midway point of a season quickly descending into disaster, Donte Williams was willing to try anything to change USC’s football fortunes.

“I even tried to wear my white shoes and channel my inner Pete Carroll,” Williams joked this week at practice, pointing at his new footwear. “Whatever it takes right now.”

With a much-needed bye week upon USC, Williams could certainly use some of that mid-2000s magic right now.

Setting aside the decision to part ways with Clay Helton after Game 2, let’s take a look at where the Trojans stand at midpoint of the season.

What went right

1. Drake London has emerged as one of the nation’s top receivers.

It’s tempting to just list London’s accomplishments to fill this space — most contested catches, most receptions in the nation (64), second-most receiving yards (832) — but we’ll spare you a long list of numbers. Just know this: London has been a force to be reckoned with so far this season.

His combination of size and skills and smooth route running has discombobulated defenses, making him nearly impossible to cover with just one man. That extra attention has, in turn, opened up opportunities for the rest of USC’s offense. London has had at least nine catches and 130 yards in five of USC’s six games — remarkable consistency considering how defenses have focused gameplans on stopping him, going so far as to take regular cheap shots.

Drake London heads into the end zone for a score against UTAH in the first half at the Coliseum on Oct. 9. (Luis Sinco / LAT)

No defense has figured out how to stop him yet, even as they’ve figured out the rest of USC’s offense. On a better team, his prolific stats might’ve warranted Heisman Trophy buzz by now. But London may have to settle for just being a truly great college receiver who dominated during a not-so-great season on his way to the draft.

2. The run game has actually improved.

USC’s rushing attack had been on a downward trajectory for years, before it finally bottomed out last season as the Trojans could barely scrounge together 97 ypg, good for 120th in the nation.

Keaontay Ingram is pursued by CU CB Christian Gonzalez on Oct. 2 in Boulder, Colo. (David Zalubowski / AP) 

Enter two transfer backs from Texas in Keaontay Ingram and Darwin Barlow. Ingram has been a major upgrade as the lead back, while Barlow has proven himself worthy in recent weeks of supplanting Vavae Malepeai in the primary change-of-pace role. Together, they’ve given USC a passable rushing attack, which is more than USC could say it had in recent years.

Ingram has been the linchpin of that progress. A violent runner capable of shaking off tacklers, his presence in the backfield has made moving the offense easier on quarterback Kedon Slovis. Ingram already has 16 plays of 10 or more yards this season, which is just two fewer than the entire USC backfield had through its six games last season.

His emergence has been aided by better run blocking upfront, which is a testament to first-year offensive line coach and run game coordinator Clay McGuire. But Ingram deserves a ton of the credit for finally making opposing defenses respect the run … that is, until USC has been forced to pass to try to quickly erase deficits.

3. The future is safe in the hands of freshman Jaxson Dart.

It was just one game, but boy was it a heck of a game. In a dynamic debut for the ages against Washington State, Jaxson Dart threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns, hobbling his way to a resounding road victory on an injured meniscus.

Jaxson Dart throws a pass against Washington State on Sept. 18 in Pullman, Wash. (Young Kwak / AP)

He hasn’t played a snap since, but the single-game performance was enough to back up what we thought was clear after fall camp: Dart is USC’s future at quarterback.

He may be its present, too, by the time USC returns from its bye. Dart is progressing at practice and nearing clearance from his injury, perhaps by the Notre Dame game next Saturday. It’s unclear if that means he’ll get a shot at the starting job, like Williams promised after the Washington State game. But his bright future beyond this season is good reason to retain some hope through 2021.

4. For what it’s worth, the offensive line has been better than expected.

Jonah Monheim (79) protects Kedon Slovis (9) from the rush of ORE ST Beavers LB Riley Sharp (56) at the Coliseum on Sept. 25. (Gina Ferazzi / LAT)
OK, so maybe it’s a backhanded compliment. But after expecting the worst, USC’s offensive line has at least exceeded those expectations.

USC was always going to take its lumps with two freshmen offensive tackles. But Jonah Monheim has at least shown a propensity for run blocking on the right side of the line, while the interior has done well in that regard too, clearing more room than USC backs have been accustomed to in recent years.

Pass blocking, especially on the edges, has been a bit of a different story. But believe it or not, USC ranks among the top-20 teams in the nation in sacks allowed, having taken just seven so far this season.

I know, I was surprised, too. But signs point towards both Monheim and left tackle Courtland Ford finding their stride sometime in the second half of the season.

What’s gone wrong

1. The USC defense has unraveled.

Drake Jackson sacks CU QB Brendon Lewis in the second half on Oct. 2 in Boulder, Colo.
(David Zalubowski / AP)
No need to isolate a specific part of USC’s defense. Depending on the week, it’s been trampled on the ground or picked apart through the air. What once looked like USC’s best chance to compete in the Pac-12 has now become its biggest question mark.

Its pass defense has underperformed in spite of its overwhelming talent, allowing 8.4 yards per pass attempt, which ranks worst in the Pac-12 and 112th in the nation. After looking fearsome in fall camp, a defensive front loaded with potential NFL talent has been just mediocre through the midway point of the season.

Edge rusher Drake Jackson has had brief brushes with greatness, tallying two sacks and a fumble recovery against Colorado, but he hasn’t been consistent like you’d expect from a potential first-rounder. Cornerback Chris Steele and safety Isaiah Pola-Mao, both key veterans, have struggled mightily after looking like sure draft picks themselves.

It’s difficult to diagnose what’s wrong with the defense because it’s been a different problem every week. But if USC doesn’t isolate the issue soon, it might only get worse from here.

2. No second option has emerged in the passing game.

Gary Bryant Jr (1) leaps over his teammate RB Quincy Jountti (27) and ORE ST WR Makiya Tongue (9) in the second half at the Coliseum on Sept. 25. (Gina Ferazzi / LAT)
Bru McCoy was supposed to be the No. 2 option, but his suspension before the season left USC scrambling for another weapon. It’s still scrambling more than two months later.

Memphis transfer Tahj Washington was the likeliest option to fill that void, but he’s so far seemed miscast in USC’s offense. Gary Bryant Jr. has had his moments, but started slow due to a hamstring injury. And freshman tight end Michael Trigg appeared bound for a breakout role before a knee injury slowed him against Utah.

No one has taken the reins yet. But USC can’t keep asking Drake London to do it all. Defenses will adjust at some point.

The Trojans have plenty of top recruits in their receiving corps. At least one should be able to step up alongside London in the second half of the season.

3. The Trojans’ top freshmen haven’t lived up to their top billing just yet.

WSU OL Abraham Lucas blocks USC DL Korey Foreman on Sept. 18 in Pullman, Wash. (Young Kwak / AP)
When Korey Foreman signed with USC, the athletic department wasn’t exactly subtle in announcing the freshman’s arrival. It did so with a billboard on campus, making it clear how prominently Foreman factored into the Trojans’ future plans.

But through six games, Foreman hasn’t figured that prominently on USC’s defense. The top overall recruit has averaged 11.5 snaps per game, the vast majority of which has come on obvious passing downs. Foreman got his first sack last week, but he still has plenty to prove to earn the coaches’ trust.

He’s not the only one. Raesjon Davis, the second highest-rated recruit in the Trojans’ 2021 class, has played a total of 11 snaps on defense this season, all of which came against San Jose State. After Foreman and standout safety Calen Bullock, defensive back Jaylin Smith has played the next-most among freshmen. But since reeling in a sack and interception against Washington State, Smith has played just three snaps.

4. Penalties are still a problem.

The broken record drones on. USC has somehow, some way managed to get worse in the penalty department. Only six teams in college football are losing more penalty yards per game than USC, which has lost 80.7 yards on an average of 8.2 penalties per game this season.

When Williams first stepped into his interim role, he promised to address USC’s discipline issues and improve accountability. But so far, he has not been able to stop the penalties. USC had two of its most penalized games of the last three years under Williams’ watch.

latimes.com

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San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 17, 2021 9:08 pm

I afraid the pixie dust has left the Dodgers. Second walk off defeat in a row. Not saying it still can’t be done, but the pressure is really on to take all three in LA.

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 18, 2021 6:48 am

Roberts over managed the game yesterday. Let Treinen or Graterol pitch the 8th.

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 18, 2021 6:54 pm
Reply to  Chris

Completely agree, Chris. Graterol always makes me nervous, but Treinen had only thrown 9 pitches in the seventh, so why not have him start the eighth and go from there. Scherzer said after the game that he could tell his arm was dead when he warmed up. What? If that’s the case, why not have Buehler ready to go since he was the most rested, then give Scherzer two more days rest with the off day. Hard to argue with the overall job Roberts has done this year with so many injuries and losing three fifths of your opening day… Read more »

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 18, 2021 7:05 pm

The Dodgers just aren’t getting the timely hits they’ve gotten in years past.It’s homer or nothing. Both Turner’s are struggling, and Bellinger can’t carry the team like he used to. I think Muncy would have had a homer or two if he was healthy. What do I know? I’m just second-guessing like the rest of us

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 18, 2021 9:24 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I hope I’m wrong, but I think the Dodgers will win 2 out of the 3 here, and lose game 6 or 7 in Atlanta. As crazy as it sounds after winning 106 games in the regular season, there’s been something missing this year. Timely hitting and bullpen pitching. Just a gut feeling

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 18, 2021 9:33 pm

The Dodgers, IMO, really miss the spark and timely hits that Kiki and Joc provided the last few years. They haven’t really replaced those guys, and you can see what Joc did against us in game 2, and what Kiki is doing for the Red Sox in the playoffs. His batting average is 615 in this series alone, with multiple HR’s and RBI’s

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 18, 2021 9:43 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Agree. I would like to keep Donte as a recruiter too, but if the new guy doesn’t want him, I won’t lose sleep. I used to feel bad when ace recruiters like Ed O and Tee Martin left, but there’s always another guy or two that become good at it, and if we make the right hire, the job is easier.

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 18, 2021 10:11 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I wondered what happened to him after the latest Tennessee scandal. He always seems to land on his feet

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 17, 2021 8:35 pm

LSU gets how important a successful football program is to the University, and has never worried about the costs of a buyout, or how it looks to replace a coordinator or head coach after a short time. I feel bad for Ed professionally. He won’t miss any meals financially, and will regroup as a D line coach in the pros or any top program that needs a stellar recruiter and motivator on staff. By making this announcement now, LSU will be swimming in the same pool of coaching candidates as SC, and offers one of the top status jobs in… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 8:51 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen, It would depend entirely on my budget for staff and how much control I had. My guess is SC will hamstring on both staff and control. If both jobs had the same level of staff budget and control, I would take SC. But I doubt that will be the case.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 8:52 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

Another way to look at it, I would have to be protected from Folt. I am not certain how one does that.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 17, 2021 9:13 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

LSU

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 17, 2021 9:02 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Without the obvious bias, the SC job all day. Pay for me and the staff being equal, I can be the king of the West, instead of an occasional division and conference winner in the SEC.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 9:09 pm

Agreed. The PAC is a grease fire. Did not think it would be this bad, but it is.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 18, 2021 5:47 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen,
Your question is too complex for their to be a simple answer or choice, based on your context. Much too much to considered through analysis.

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 18, 2021 6:42 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

USC. A much better job IMHO.

Rushmore
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Rushmore (@rushmore)
October 18, 2021 9:25 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

LSU: surrounded by venomous snake and mosquito infested swamps and a peculiar subset of people who speak in a dialect that no one outside of Louisiana understands. USC: surrounded by high quality high school football players. Hmmmm. Tough choice. Not.

danielmcd1
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danielmcd1 (@danielmcd1)
October 18, 2021 10:47 am
Reply to  Rushmore

Outstanding remarks! You can include Florida in that and add alligators along with the other descriptive adjectives and nouns to describe LSU and the state where it is located.

TMC4USC
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TMC4USC (@tmc4usc)
October 18, 2021 1:08 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

As long as the school gives the head coach the authority he needs, it would have to be USC. The name still carries massive national clout. The west coast is devoid of any other school that carries that clout. Oregon and Stanford have national clout too but not like USC’s. LSU is in direct competition by way of being in a region with the Alabama schools, the Florida schools, the Texas schools, the Georgia schools and even the Oklahoma schools. Selling Los Angeles to a midwestern or northeastern 5 star recruit would be easier than selling Baton Rouge.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 20, 2021 3:59 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Most sports talk shows point to USC being the better job due to the PAC-12 conference wouldn’t put up much of a fight towards getting into the playoff just about every year. And you know, they’re probably right.

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 18, 2021 6:50 am

USC for 2 reasons

  1. pac 12 is easier to win
  2. all the recruits you need are within a 2 hour drive from you.
Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 17, 2021 5:02 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

This is one of the PAC-12 football programs i identify as just there to participate to get the TV money and little else. Thank God we don’t have that administration to live with here.

UtahTrojan
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UtahTrojan (@utahtrojan)
October 17, 2021 6:29 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

Impossible to have a quality football team in the middle of all of that social correctness.

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 17, 2021 1:28 pm

Clutch ……CLUTCH drive by Sam Darnold in last minute of regulation time ….Will that game go to overtime ?

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 12:38 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Really telling. Power 5: SEC & B10 – 6 each B12 – 3 ACC – 3 Pac 12 -1 Others American – 2 Conference USA, Mountain West, and Sunbelt – 1 ND The Pac is officially not a Power 5 Conference. It is the a monument to the Larry Scott “equity” doctrine. Some would say it is a pile of dung erected by Scott at the request of the then Pac 12 Presidents and ADs. Boy, was Pat Haden an awful AD. How about the Pac 12 South not having one top 25 team and there is little chance it… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 12:49 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

They certainly have the income to do this. It is going to be very difficult for any school to compete with the Big 10 or SEC for hiring coaches and staff. Both Conferences were well run and have significant cash advantages over their competitors. I wrote earlier about Lake at UW. Does UW have either the funds or the willingness to spend significant dollars on its football staffing. My guess is UW is very “woke” and simply will not invest in the program at the levels needed to become elite again. Say what you want about Petersen; he was able… Read more »

Trojan5
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Trojan5 (@trojan5)
October 17, 2021 1:12 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I don’t follow UW close enough to have a strong opinion about Jimmy Lake. But I don’t think it is good for the sport if a 2nd year coach with an overall 5 & 5 record is going to be booted based on a shortened first season and half of a 2nd.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 1:21 pm
Reply to  Trojan5

Trojan 5, I think Allen has this one right. Look at the lessons from SC and Stanford. Stanford hired an assistant of an elite coach (Harbaugh) and Shaw had a great first two years on the job (and developed nicely). Even the incompetent Helton won the Rose Bowl with Sark and Kiffin’s recruits (and Sam Darnold). It is a horrible sign to have a coach take over a championship level team coached by an elite level coach and have him bomb his first full year at the helm. Given what is at stake, you cannot gamble on his developing in… Read more »

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 17, 2021 5:08 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Seems to me the top 5 should be undefeated until someone knocks them off. Sorry Alabama you fell into a trap game and lost. Michigan, Okla St and Mich St should be ahead of them. The Big10 will sort themselves out soon enough.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 17, 2021 10:43 am

Coach O leaving LSU end of season. Depending on who Bohn hires, it would not surprise me to see O coming back as DC?

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 17, 2021 10:51 am
Reply to  Jamaica

With a Title IX issue still pending at LSU and the co-Ed hot tub incident, hmmm. Most likely head to the NFL…just a guess.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 17, 2021 11:30 am
Reply to  Jamaica

Depending on who Bohn hires, it would not surprise me to see O coming back as DC?”

It wouldn’t surprise me…I would be shocked!
The School needs to look to the future…not to the past.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 17, 2021 12:48 pm
Reply to  alfa1

The best PAC-12 defense wouldn’t compare anywhere to the worst SEC defense. And the USC defense is not at the top of our conference list. I think the fanbase is fed up watching our offense having to out score the other team to win a game. If a new HC brought in a defensive specialist with “past” issues, as more & more coaches have them today, I don’t think a lot of fans would squawk much about it.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 17, 2021 1:27 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

In your hypothetical, it’s one thing to bring him in as a position coach, it’s entirely a different matter to bring him in as a Coordinator…baggage or not. That’s a choice for the new Head Coach.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 17, 2021 10:47 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

If he (his agent) negotiated a full buyout, 21M through ‘21, I don’t think there is any anguish worrying about where his next meal is coming from, however, it does show a distinct difference in Universities one reluctant to make a switch for the sake of money, the other willing to make a change for the better…and promptly.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 17, 2021 11:31 am
Reply to  alfa1

SC was negotiating civil law suits for hundreds of millions of dollars. The lawyers here could comment on the optics of throwing tens of millions of dollars around on football coaches while arguing how much to settle with young women that have been molested.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 17, 2021 3:45 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

So, those scurrilous impediments were solved 4 weeks ago, and cleared the way for Helton’s unexpected departure….Really.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 17, 2021 4:54 pm
Reply to  alfa1

Yes those lawsuits were settled over the summer. That finally put Helton on a short lease and Bohn pulled it.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 12:45 pm
Reply to  alfa1

Alfa, As I write above, Ed O’s life is a story still in process. Let’s see how he lives it out. It is truly amazing, but cannot be told until the story is over. Probably another 20 years from now.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 17, 2021 11:25 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Sounds like an old school guy trying to live a public life in a new world with a stressful job. Some time away from the lime light to get his life in order seems appropriate. I didn’t realize he divorced last year. I remember when he was at SC, his wife and kids were in Louisiana and at LSU he was now home with the family. Guess that didn’t work so well. Well Ed there’s always the Saban Coaches Rehab Center in Tuscaloosa, or take your millions and move on to some new chapter. What would Orgeron be like in… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 12:43 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

This is a really great stage play (or movie) in the making. It cannot be written for another 20 years or so, but it is one amazing story. Ed O is a larger than life character, with a larger than life story, whose story is worthy of a Shakespeare. If I had the ability (which I do not remotely possess), there are so many of these types of stories waiting to be told. Uganda, Zimbabwe/Rhodesian and Rwanda are all incredible stories that I hope someone eventually tells.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 17, 2021 10:19 am

Orgeron out at end of ‘21 season…LSU IN A COACH SEARCH

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 17, 2021 9:06 am

Just spent the week in LA. Got to take my daughter to school, catch a dodger game, hit the beach, but….never went anywhere without a huge crowd or stupid traffic. Not sure how you So Cal peeps do it.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 8:10 am

Interesting weekend. Got to see things other than via SC lens. In the Pac South, Utah has emerged as the new favorite, following rallying in the second half to trounce ASU. The Pac 12 South race has three teams in the mix: UCLA, Utah and ASU. USC, with 3 league losses, is effectively out of the race. Things actually go much worse for two teams this weekend. First, the AZ Wildcats lost their second QB for the season. They are now down to the 3rd team QB (who played most of the game against CO in a 34-0 loss). They… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 17, 2021 12:55 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I am not predicting a win. I just do not think they stink the place up like they did against Stanford, Oregon State and Utah. Those 3 games were over at the end of the 3rd Q. I would be surprised by an SC win, but not shocked. This SC team is so bad that Kelly’s most difficult issue will be to get his kids excited about the game. Imagine watching the film of Stanford, Oregon State and Utah dismantling this team. Hard not to think – these guys stink. The ND kids will then lose focus. If ND shows… Read more »

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 17, 2021 4:56 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Hope springs eternal. But Kelly won’t let two straight losses at home happen. I just see our team composure dissolving in that atmosphere with what shaky confidence it has presently. Slovis might not make it to the end of the game and what most everyone wants, the freshmen wonder comes in to try his luck.

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 8:36 pm

Oklahoma State now #6 in the RPi (BUT can they beat Oklahoma) .

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 7:24 pm

Chances that NC State wins it’s division and NOT Clemson winning their Division increasing ……Anybody last August lay a wager at Vegas that Clemson would not win their Division this season ?

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 16, 2021 4:06 pm

Coach O beats Florida, Georgia fails to cover over Kentucky.

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 3:45 pm

With Iowa losing Alabama probably back into top 4 .

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 3:38 pm

First I very much doubt he leaves the State of Ohio …….. That being said if …..If Mr. Fickell can get in the Natl Championship game AND if …..IF he does the improbable and defeats Georgia and has a conversation with our AD if he had ANY interest in coming to SC his salary request (as the coach of a Natl Championship team ) would be EXTERMELY high .

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 3:29 pm

Mr. Luke Fickell about to move up to #2 in the AP Poll ?

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 3:38 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Gotta agree .

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 12:30 pm

So OK State just beat Texas and are 6-0 ……But can they EVER beat Oklahoma ? ….We will see .

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 12:23 pm

Say goodbye to being in the AP top-25 Texas .

PN4SC
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PN4SC (@pn4sc)
October 16, 2021 11:37 am

I don’t know what to expect from Dart if he plays in South Bend, but I can say with great confidence he gives us the best chance to win. If you asked members of the team, I am pretty sure they would agree.
If the offense struggles under Slovis( and we all know it will) they have to give Dart the ball. He can make plays with his feet, and exudes a certain Darnold like swagger that the team, including the defense can feed off.

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 16, 2021 10:21 am

Stephan Carr and Indiana currently upsetting #10 Mich State .
I have only seen Indiana play this one game but it seems Stephan might be getting the opportunity to be Indiana’s feature back .

Last edited 9 days ago by HOF19
Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 15, 2021 9:20 pm

What happens if Jaxon Dart doesn’t scramble around dodging tacklers and throw touchdowns the next game he plays and wins by 3-TDS? The press, among others in the media, is identifying him the next savior of USC football after watching him play half of game against a notorious cellar dweller. Let’s slow down on the hype and not rush him into being Superman. Haven’t we done enough of this in the past 4-yrs with 3-freshmen QBs?

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 16, 2021 9:26 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Slovis was considered the savior two seasons ago who chased away JT for the same reason when JT recovered. What was beginning to happened to JT, holding the ball too long, being indecisive, has eventually happened to Slovis now. He’s an old man after being beaten on every game. Darnold was getting the same treatment until he escaped early. But his last year here took a toll. This program is eating up QBs, we all know this. And because the coaching change happened after the start of the season, not much has changed in execution of the offense as we… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Jamaica
Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 16, 2021 12:57 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

That’s one way of putting it. Just another example as so many have pointed out, no measurable player development with the expectation the skill positions will pull out a win. Injuries are definitely part of this game but this program has consistent QB injury issues. But another year, another freshman QB recruit thrown in early to survive the elements for as long as he can….. This thankfully will end this season when GH and his version of the air raid offense is sent packing.

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 16, 2021 4:51 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Yep. Riley didn’t hesitate to yank Rattler for a freshman last week against TX. The best coaches go with the best players.

Trojan5
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Trojan5 (@trojan5)
October 16, 2021 10:01 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Among the many sins committed by CH was that USC got away from the idea that the best player plays. Top teams like AL really don’t play that many freshman, but they do play those that deserve to . The depth of those teams also makes it harder for freshman to play. But over the last 5 years CH didn’t acquire/develop that level of depth. Making it even more frustrating that he didn’t identify & play the players with the most upside.

Trojan5
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Trojan5 (@trojan5)
October 16, 2021 10:30 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m no coach , but it looks to me that Dedich is one of the guys who should get more playing time. He plays with a nastiness and never seems to quit.. IMO The weakest link on the OLine is Neilon. I would like to see Dedich get a shot. I guess there is a news embargo from USC. I have not read one word about the Thursday “youngsters” scrimmage. How did Raseshon do? The DBs? Korey? LB Sermon?

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 15, 2021 4:27 pm

At least 6 players in the weekly contest are betting big on Oregon (-14.5) tonight, including myself. Another lovely late start. Will the Pac12 ever fix that?

San Diego Trojan
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San Diego Trojan (@san-diego-trojan)
October 15, 2021 10:14 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Just when Oregon looked like the surest bet of the week, they are about go behind Cal early in the fourth.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 16, 2021 5:04 am

It’s the pac 12. Remember…..Parity Rules !

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 16, 2021 5:30 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

They didn’t cover…You’re Bummed ☹️

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 16, 2021 8:48 am
Reply to  alfa1

Well I will just go all in next week for ND, whatever the points.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 16, 2021 9:54 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I have no idea but would think at least by 14.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 16, 2021 5:26 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Seriously, ND can’t be that bad. I would take ND and 4.5 in a heart beat. They are too strong in the trenches to let USC push them around.

Last edited 9 days ago by Golden Trojan
John Weld
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John Weld (@johnnynumbers)
October 16, 2021 8:26 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

This season of super seniors, upsets and inconsistent play has certainly had an outsized effect on the wagers this year.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 16, 2021 5:17 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

After deciphering your word salad …oh Yes, he will have the opportunity and command from upstairs to turn this inexplicable mess into something positive on his way out the Door !

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 14, 2021 9:40 pm

Dodgers!

ATL D.D.S.
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ATL D.D.S. (@atl-d-d-s)
October 15, 2021 11:03 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I haven’t lived in Southern California in 30 years, but I still hate the Giants. Very questionable call, but suck it Frisco. I remember many times when the Dodgers would come out on the short end on controversial calls. And Go Dodgers, beat the Braves.

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 14, 2021 6:28 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I wish he were calling this game, he’s the best. Growing up we were spoiled with Vin and Chick, there are plenty of good guys now, but they just feel like LA.

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 14, 2021 3:43 pm

I think he missed the largest “goods”; (1) Clay Helton was removed as HC, (2) Donte was allowed to remove himself as a successor (3) both co-ordinators ended their stays at SC, and (4) the destruction of SC football by allowing the incompetent Cat run it for 6 years is on full display sans his inane PR.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 14, 2021 9:27 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

The program had to hit rock bottom or close to it for the administration to stop being ignorant and address the obvious failure it had created. If Cowherd is correct saying there are quality candidates who will seek the HC job, the administration better be careful who they hire or the fanbase will erupt.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 15, 2021 7:40 am
Reply to  Jamaica

“ the administration better be careful who they hire or the fanbase will erupt.”
Perhaps ‘evaporate’ is a more appropriate term.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 15, 2021 9:46 am
Reply to  alfa1

I like both alfa1, erupt then evaporate.

Trojan5
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Trojan5 (@trojan5)
October 15, 2021 9:57 am
Reply to  Jamaica

Regardless who is picked, 15-20% of the fan base is going to be pissed.

Rock2112
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Rock2112 (@rock2112)
October 15, 2021 10:36 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

As between losing to ND or UCLA, I’ll take losing to ND. ND is wildly underperforming its talent level, which I believe is due to my controversial opinion that Brian Kelly is a crappy coach. Ok, I will upgrade crappy to mediocre. But his record is just fluffed up with so many cupcakes, and near miss wins like Florida State, Toledo, and Va Tech this year. And, I’m sorry, but my eyeballs tell me what my eyeballs tell me. Just given the recent recruiting gap alone, we don’t belong on the same field with ND. But something tells me we’ll… Read more »

Rock2112
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Rock2112 (@rock2112)
October 15, 2021 12:47 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

UDub is bad! Lost to Montana to start the season, and needed OT to beat Cal. I am frankly surprised at the line on that. Shows there is not a lot of excitement around Bruin football and the guru linemakers don’t think much of this year’s version of DTR (which has run from mediocre to bad).

Rock2112
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Rock2112 (@rock2112)
October 15, 2021 3:52 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

The Ruins’ secondary is god awful. I could see Drake London just eating them alive. Of course, our secondary is bad too, so expect a lot of big plays and a high scoring game in this year’s rivalry. Our downfall is that I don’t think our o-line can keep whatever QB we have in there upright long enough for some of those big plays to develop, so the advantage will be with the Ruins. We’ll see.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 15, 2021 9:43 am
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

And the icing on the cake is Bohn hires a base hit instead of a home run HC.

Trojan5
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Trojan5 (@trojan5)
October 15, 2021 9:59 am
Reply to  Jamaica

Problem is that for some any choice other than Urban or Saban will be considered a base hit.

Trojan5
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Trojan5 (@trojan5)
October 15, 2021 11:28 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m ok with everything you say, except for being happy about the Dodgers. Go Giants!

UtahTrojan
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UtahTrojan (@utahtrojan)
October 15, 2021 2:46 pm
Reply to  Trojan5

🤮

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 15, 2021 12:23 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Yes the obvious grand slam candidates are out of the picture alright. And I don’t see Mike Bohn taking a chance hiring a twice fired PC like MG did who was desperate after his first 3-choices declined. But PC wowed him with his game plan presentation rebuilding the program. I keep thinking Alabama OC Bill O’Brien is going to get offers from both the NFL & college due to his HC experiences in both and is getting some detailed know how from the master making him a hotter CFB candidate than a NFL OC. And so what he got fired… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Jamaica
UtahTrojan
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UtahTrojan (@utahtrojan)
October 15, 2021 2:43 pm
Reply to  Trojan5

Urban has completely taken his name off of the list through his actions.

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 14, 2021 3:23 pm

Game 5 tonight. Dodgers decide to start a reliever when we have 20 game winner Urias ready to go. I’m sure he’s going to get the majority of the innings tonight, but a strange move. Don’t overthink it, play your best!

John Weld
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John Weld (@johnnynumbers)
October 14, 2021 3:57 pm
Reply to  Chris

The newspaper said Urias was starting, did something change?

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 14, 2021 4:34 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

That whole thing just makes it worse. Why text him? The whole point is to gain an advantage. This is similar to starting your wildcat QB instead of your best QB and telling the opposing coach the day before. It makes no sense.