Injuries Still Severely Limiting USC

Ryan Kartje (LA Times)  —  Early last Saturday, before USC was forced to abandon its run game altogether, Kenan Christon took an inside handoff in the red zone, hit the hole and immediately ran into an Oregon defender’s outstretched arm.

There was never any mistaking the diminutive freshman for a bruising power back. But in that moment, as Christon was taken down, the limitations of an offense with only the 185-pound freshman available in the run game were abundantly clear to USC’s coaches.

“Maybe one of those bigger guys would’ve run through that arm tackle,’” running backs coach Mike Jinks said Tuesday. “But again, that’s part of it. He picked up all his blitzes. He got thrown all over the field. His job that day was to get run over slowly, and he did a dang good job of it. Really, he impressed the heck out of me.”

Christon carried the ball a season-high 15 times for 79 yards against Oregon. That workload was nearly identical to the one he’d received against Colorado a week earlier (14 for 76).

In three games this season, Christon is averaging nearly seven yards per carry, and coaches have continually praised his toughness. But against the Ducks, the lack of bigger options was more of a noticeable issue, offensive coordinator Graham Harrell acknowledged.
“We’re obviously limited there, just depth-wise,” Harrell said. “Kenan is a special player, and he has a different skill set. But again, he’s a true freshman too. He sees some things for the first time and might make some mistakes, but he’s also made some big plays. At the end of the day, he can’t carry it 30 times. One, he’s a true freshman, and two, he’s pretty light.”

Still, out of necessity, Christon is likely to carry the load for at least one more week in USC’s backfield. Coach Clay Helton said that probably would mean another game with fewer than 20 touches. But as USC tries to better establish the run, it’s uncertain who outside of former walk-on Quincy Jountti, who boasts nine carries in three games, might share that backfield burden.

Junior Stephen Carr did some minor work running on the field Tuesday and could return Saturday against Arizona State. But after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury, Carr is more likely to come back next week. Vavae Malepeai, who had knee surgery less than a month, may also have a chance to return then.

If both are back, USC will have a decision to make regarding Christon. The Arizona State game would be Christon’s fourth this season, meaning he would still be eligible to redshirt, assuming he doesn’t participate again in 2019.

When asked if Christon could be shut down after this week in order to redshirt, Helton left the door open.

“We’re going to see where we are with the other two backs,” Helton said. “It’d be great to get Stephen Carr back, see where Vavae is, and to be able to save it.”

Jackson, Hufanga return

A decimated USC defense may get two of its most important defenders back from injury this week.

End Drake Jackson (ankle, left) and safety Talanoa Hufanga (shoulder) were both back at practice after each missed the last two games. Helton expressed hope that both might return against Arizona State, but added that they would be evaluated later in the week.

Hufanga was still limited Tuesday, while Jackson is “not 100%, but he’s working to get that way this week,” Helton said.

Jackson leads USC in sacks (3.5) and Hufanga ranks second in tackles (51).

President at practice

New university President Carol L. Folt and Rick Caruso, the chairman of USC’s board of trustees, were both at practice during the portion that was open to the media.

Helton, who stopped before practice to shake hands with both, said Folt was the first one to greet him in the locker room after the 56-24 loss to Oregon.

“Her support and Mr. Caruso’s support has always been there,” Helton said. “I’m appreciative. That’s one of the great things about being a part of the Trojan family. Obviously, this is a production-based business, and you want wins, but those people have always been great to me.”

latimes.com

__________

TrojanDailyBlog members  —  Always feel free to add information or topics to the TDB which don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post

44
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
  SUBSCRIBE HERE TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF NEW COMMENTS OR REPLIES.  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Trojan5
Member
Knighted Member
Trojan5
Offline

One thing that seems to be overlooked : USC could lose out on Urban and it won’t be their fault at all. It is realistically possible that Urban does not want to return to coaching. His work at Fox is universally praised and his life is manageable without any of the stress coaching creates. As importantly, and possibly more importantly, his wife Shelley prefers he not coach. Urban to SC seems to be a perfect match, but it might not be in the cards. And the reasons might have nothing to do with USC.

Rock2112
Member
Diamond Member
Rock2112
Offline

This should be my last rant on the subject unless any more bizarre news comes out, but if Carol Folt had a hard “no-Urban” policy, why the hell wasn’t that made clear even by an “anonymous source” a long time ago, to prevent the predicament we are in now. And, for that matter, how did Mike Bohn have to learn that information 10 minutes before he was going to sign on the dotted line and be announced as the new AD. I mean, the dysfunction of this school is beyond belief. Folt allowed herself to be photographed chatting it up… Read more »

Paul_Muad_dib
Member
Diamond Member

I was thinking the same exact thing Rock. It blows my mind. She should have made it very clear from the start that it was her stance. Now even if she didn’t want Meyer before, why would she then cave and allow Bohn to offer Meyer the gig now? Did she change her mind? Did she realize that was going to be a major fail? The dysfunction is still alive and well. And I still can’t fathom why USC would try to “protect” their image by not hiring Meyer. The entire country has a negative view of USC and that… Read more »

Rock2112
Member
Diamond Member
Rock2112
Offline

Analyzing anything the Oregon game is basically self-abuse, but I did just re-watch the “kick-six” before halftime and I see NO evidence of what Clay claims happened — i.e. that two Trojans ran into each other opening a lane. I DO see that the gunner took a ridiculously silly angle and ran right past the ball carrier in an attempt to make a “big hit” rather than to contain him, And I see that everybody else was slow to react and get off their blocks, and the lane was left wide open for the carrier to go through untouched. Just… Read more »

illinoisusc
Member
Noble Member

Watching our games that is my impression. Our LB’s and S consistently try for a big hit instead of wrapping up. Which sometimes results in a big play for the others.
Coaching…..coaching……coaching.

Paul_Muad_dib
Member
Diamond Member

You would think that the amount of times Helton hugs his players would eventually teach them how to wrap up properly…

PN4SC
Member
Noble Member
PN4SC
Offline

When Clay is finally fired, his next job will probably be a position coach at a Conference USA school. That should suit his skill set about right.As for Baxter, it would take someone as dumb as Helton to offer him a job.

Chris
Member
Knighted Member
Chris
Offline

I have no idea about Meyer coming or not, but I do know Clay is out. I believe that almost anyone on any coaching list will be an upgrade. That’s not enough. It would be a bummer to have to wait another 2 or 3 years to get in a staff that gets their plan and players plugged in before we are good again. That much I believe is doable, be good. Great? I don’t know. Only a handful of coaches in our history has lead us to greatness. I have no doubt Urban would.

UtahTrojan
Member
Noble Member

and that is the problem we find ourselves in. We all believe Urban would make us great. Heck, if he were hired immediately he would even be able to salvage recruiting as I have no doubt players would jump on board to be a part of it.
But anybody else on any of the lists would more than likely be a slow climb out of the Helton hole we are in.

Steveg
Member
Mt Rushmore
Steveg
Online

With the outlook for Meyer becoming very grim, here is my list of possible new coaches, not in any particular order:
Whittingham
Tedford
Campbell
Lincoln Riley
Bryan Harsin
Mike Norvell
Chris Klieman
PJ Fleck
and what the heck, offer Saban, he left LSU so who knows.

I am sure others have ideas, but looking at winning percentages these guys are good. Here it is for what it is worth. 0

San Diego Trojan
Member
Knighted Member

Great list, Steve. I had just mentioned on the previous topic that there were rumors before Clay was re-signed that John Harbaugh was secretly interested. That would be my first choice. Also saw James Franklin earlier in the season on College Game Day, and he was oozing confidence , high energy and charisma. I would be happy with him. I would be good with Whittingham, and Matt Campbell. I’m so impressed with guys like Coach O, who is a skilled motivator, recruiter and leader of men who love his tough love . He realized he had made previous mistakes and… Read more »

TrojanMPA90
Member
Noble Member

I get the feeling that President Folt being at practice signals the end of Clay as football coach at USC. I mean why else would a president come to practice.

San Diego Trojan
Member
Knighted Member

Yes, I too felt that was the dreaded “vote of confidence “ , and show of support that signals the end is near