J. Brady McCollough (LA Times) — “During the last two seasons, Clancy Pendergast’s defense, which often played with two traditional defensive linemen, four linebackers and five defensive backs, has been a bit of an enigma. The talent has appeared to be there to form an elite unit, and the group did not lack for experience either. Yet, USC has struggled, particularly against the run, where the Trojans have given up 4.3 ypc in back-to-back years (the last time USC gave up that number was 2010).”
Allen Wallace — One watchword for USC football this season is very clearly “simplification”, which will supposedly allow USC’s usually more talented players to better utilize their skills by playing faster without being bogged down by complicated (yet strangely predictable) offensive or defensive systems. Graham Harrell’s commitment to simplification in his version of the Air Raid is unquestioned and has been accepted wholeheartedly by USC football fans from the beginning.
Clancy Pendergast’s commitment to “simplification” has always been a much murkier idea in the minds of many Trojan followers, who are reluctant and in some cases outright resistant to believe anything has been really changed by Pendergast — other than simple play-calling terminology.
Whether this is actually a product of Pendergast’s unpopularity within the Trojan community, or an accurate reflection of his assumed penchant to run his defense and ignore Clay Helton’s public claim that he has ordered Pendergast to “simplify” the defense, is a hot topic as USC football cruises into what we all hope is a giant rebound season.
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