Answer Wednesday!

In this segment, questions about the defense (again) and Joe McKnight.

Q: jkstewart2 said:
While it’s nice that the offense can score against a bad team, it’s a disaster (continuing from last year) that the current roster isn’t able to stop a mediocre offense from a lesser conference. What’s happening to the vaunted SC defense? Was it first game jitters coupled with no-tackling practices? Or is a problem that will only be fixed with several years of recruiting?

and what is that giant sucking sound in Seattle?

A: The coaches used the inexperience of the secondary as one excuse. However, that does not excuse the play of some of the defensive line. Or at least one linebacker. Maybe the lack of tackling was something of a factor. But I think another reason was the lack of defenses that were featured in the game. USC ran two basic defenses and did little to adjust to Hawaii’s offense despite having four weeks to prepare for Hawaii.
That was the biggest disappointment to me because I expected a more sophisticated game plan defensively following the departure of Pete Carroll and it certainly did not happen.

Q: cjs1993 said:
Is the Monte Kiffin/Pete Carroll Cover 2 style defense too predictable to succeed in college football today with all of the newer unorthodox formations (Oregon State/Oregon/Hawaii)? I can’t tell whether the defensive lapses are primarily related to the scheme being behind the times, or if it is just a complete lack of athleticism on defens’e.

A: I don’t think lack of athleticism is a problem for the secondary although I have to admit that even during training camp I’ve been wondering about whether Nickell Robey’s height would be an issue despite Lane Kiffin’s assertions about his vertical leap. I think guys were out of place on play mainly because it was their first game and because nothing was done to take Hawaii out of its comfort zone, such as blitzing. The Oregon game is going to be interesting to see how the defense adapts to the spread.
I asked Monte Kiffin if he’d seen enough of the spread or more specifically Hawaii’s version and he said he faced similar offensive sets for years in the NFL. So there you go.

Q: BoscoH said:
Scott, If Joe McKnight had stayed this year and not been in any hot water over whatever, would this coaching staff have him behind Tyler, Baxter, Bradford, and probably Gable (where he would belong)?

A: I think he would have been No. 1 during spring drills. During training camp, if he performed like he did last season, I think he would have dropped behind Tyler and Bradford but been used in Dillon Baxter’s role for the Hawaii game. With Baxter returning this week, he would be squeezed in the rotation and would probably be fourth or tied for third on the depth chart.

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  • Rich K

    How does one blame the DL in Hawaii when the quarterback takes a 3 step drop and has a quick delivery? Indeed LK was disappointed with a couple of the line members but the rest of the DL did a decent job. I think the defensive scheme needed to be adjusted.

  • NJ Trojan

    @cjs1993: I wouldn’t say Oregon State plays offense from an unorthodox formation. Don’t they basically play a zone running game from a single back offensive formation? I’m sure Monte Kiffin’s seen plenty of that in the NFL.

    @Rich K: I don’t really remember too well now, but were SC’s DTs able to push back HI’s interior lineman? And didn’t HI run a few plays surprisingly well up the middle in between the OTs? As far as the DEs are concerned, they couldn’t get pressure on the QB, and Moniz could run whenever he wanted, so they weren’t really doing their job very well either.

  • Free_Thinker

    Let’s do some UCLA math. (Wolf says McKnight would be #4 back) + (McKnight makes NFL roster) = Scott Wolf is a boob.