Weekly Musings – Utah State Version

My feeling going into this game was this: I always say “a win is a win”, and of course all I wanted was to have more points than Utah State at the end of the game. But in a sense, HOW we won, if we did, was more important today than usual. I wanted to know the real DNA of this team. The last two weeks featured two different football teams. Which one was the 2013 USC Trojans?

My assessment after game four is that the defense is as legit as we have thought, and the offense is as bad as we have thought. Ultimately, I do not think it realistic to expect your defense to win every game for you. This defense obviously won the game today, virtually unassisted. I didn’t really think CLK called a poor game (though it wasn’t stellar either). I just don’t think the offense is that good. Off we go with some live-typed musings on the USC win, but this week there are no comments around the country (pretty uneventful week, actually) …

– One thing I notice with Tre Madden in the game is an instinct for ball-running that I think we lacked with McNeal, Tyler, and other backs of recent years. People are rightly raving about Tre’s physicality, but it is his mentality I am loving

– The wildcat formation on third and 3 the first drive of the game which resulted in Madden handing off to Marqise for a nine yard run and a first down was an exquisite play call – creative, confident, vertical, utilizing space – the CLK of 2011

– Sua Cravens is going to be one of the great safeties at USC. Big hitter, and a big enthusiasm for finding the ball

– Nothing in football more irritating than giving up a 3rd and 20

– Sometimes I worry about Leonard Williams – in a good way. That is an angry player. And I love it

– The 30-yard TD pass to Grimble was our first TD to a Tight End all year, and I believe our second longest pass completion of the year

– Just moments after I typed the above, Lee grabbed a 33-year catch on a double move slant and go

– Kevin Graf is just really struggling as a long-time player in the program who seems to be a penalty machine. But Chad Wheeler on the left side appears to me to be the reason for a lot of pass protection breakdowns. For a redshirt freshman to be the best option we have at the pivotal position of Left Tackle is very distressing.

– Yes, Leonard Williams should have had a pick when the ball bounced up into his hands on Hayes Pullard’s vicious third down hit on the third down receiver. However, he can be excused for being distracted from catching the ball based on what must have been the sound of bones breaking right beneath him. Pullard blew that guy up …

– Marqise Lee just has to stop dropping the ball. He is way, way too good to have that happening, ever, but let alone once or twice per game

– I am concerned about Heidari. The 52-yarder seems like ancient history and a few very makable kicks not going through the uprights disappoints me. We need a solid, dependable kicking game because this offense will have to settle for three points more often than we want to admit

– I am at a loss as to how to explain the effectiveness of the offensive line in run blocking vs. the total ineffectiveness of the offensive line in pass protection

– It is seriously unbelievable how many times our defense has to bail out our offense. It is an unsustainable dependency, sort of like the housing market’s dependence on preposterously artificial low interest rates

– The team can not win if they do not learn to pass protect. Lane didn’t call a bad game. Cody didn’t throw a bad game. The running game was fine (though not stellar). We just can’t play with our quarterback on the ground

– Five times starting a drive inside Utah St. territory with three points … That is a truly atrocious thing to type

A win is a win, but this one didn’t do us any favors going into Tempe …

No, I don’t feel good going into conference schedule. But that is different than having surrendered, or spending all time ands energy bemoaning the head coach. I support this team, and I want to see its players and coaches fine. My prayer is that these challenging times will thin the herd in USC fan base. We need these bandwagon idiots like UCLA needs a stadium 45 minutes away from their campus. I am sorry the economy has been rough on people, and I am sorry Pete Carroll is in the NFL. But I would just like to make one thing very clear: The loudest and most venomous people screaming were doing the exact same thing whenever Pete Carroll dared to call one play that didn’t result in a 90-yard touchdown. These are not football-intelligent people, and they are not generally intelligent people. They are frustrated, angry jerks. CLK is very likely going to be gone. But the next day, they’ll still be frustrated, angry jerks. For the grown-ups reading these musings, wish the team well, hope the coaches improve, and support the Cardinal and Gold with everything that Fight On embodies. The parasites will die off.