Freshmen Everywhere

A stat released Wednesday by USC determined that eight true freshmen made 45 starts this season. Three of those players are offensive linemen (Toa Lobendahn, Damien Mama, Viane Talamaivao).

Not all those starts were forced out of necessity, however, because the coaches decided to play senior Aundrey Walker (18 career starts) as little as possible this season.

 

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USC Morning Buzz: Giving Thanks

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It’s Thanksgiving and Steve Sarkisian made the players write down what they are thankful for as a homework assignment last night. Here’s one thing I’m thankful for: USC will wear its traditional helmets against Notre Dame.

Perhaps the shiny helmets are being buried after that UCLA-game performance.

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The Latest Line

USC is a 7-point favorite over Notre Dame. That seems like a lot of points for two disappointing teams but the Irish just lost three defensive players (defensive linemen Jarron Jones and Sheldon Day, safety Drue Tranquill). Notre Dame also has a depleted roster. And close losses. 

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A Chicken And Egg Dilemma

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Is USC’s offense too conservative? Yes. But why? Is it because Steve Sarkisian will not take chances or because he feels Cody Kessler is not capable of running a wide-open offense?

Remember Sarkisian coached Jake Locker and Keith Price at Washington. And I wrote back in the spring the playbook was pared down because of the lack of a running quarterback. After watching the UCLA game, does that justify keeping the game plan bland? And how does it improve next season?

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Beat Your Rivals

USC is 0-5 against UCLA and Notre Dame and has not beaten either team since 2011. For some perspective, before 2011 the last time USC got swept by its archrivals was 1995.

So Steve Sarkisian got do himself a big favor with a victory over the Irish, even if they have allowed 30-or-more points for six straight games and lost three straight.

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USC Morning Buzz: Did The Offense Become Too Predictable?

Is USC’s offense too predictable? It seemed heading into the UCLA game that Nelson Agholor got nearly every pass and he entered that contest with nearly twice as many receptions as anyone else.
“You can potentially fall into the trap of where that’s where the ball should go (too often),” Steve Sarkisian said after the UCLA loss.
But Cody Kessler seemed to not fully agree.
“We’ve had games where nine or 10 people touched the ball so I don’t know about that,” Kessler said. “ A lot of people have touched the ball and made plays for us.”

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