USC Morning Buzz

NCAA Football: Southern California at Hawaii

Here’s my analysis on a rather pathetic offensive performance in Hawaii that relied on the defense to avoid being really embarassing. And few answers from Lane Kiffin. Link here

Photo/USA Today

Facebook Twitter Plusone Reddit Tumblr Email
  • Ben Factor

    As I wrote elsewhere, there were some unfortunate parallels with 2012, and with Fall practice:

    Hawaii played about as well against USC’s #1 defense as the USC offense played in the second scrimmage. The implication going forward is murky.

    The 3rd/4th down efficiency was 4 for 16.

    I didn’t see red zone efficiency stats, but anecdotally, it was poor.

    In the 3rd quarter, USC ran 22 plays for 88 yards and 0 points. 3rd Q was a problem last year.

    USC committed 9 penalties.

    I sense the need for more radical internal process changes to solve/improve on last year’s problems.

    If the OL will be weak again, what plays and style will best cope with that?

    Kiffin needs input on the running game.

    If Kiffin wants to call the plays, he is probably not the right guy to take charge of half-time adjustments. He’s trying to do everything, and doesn’t seem up to it.

    • gotroy22

      The effort was truly shocking. All the bad memories of the 7-6 season came back. It was like watching the Syracuse game again and wondering why such a poor team was staying close to us. If Hawaii’s quarterback had even a mediocre performance we lose this game.

      • Goatboy Kiffin

        Do they even practice … what do they do in practice .. throw bubble screens to Lee for 2 hours. Kiffin is making Hackett look average.

      • L’Angelo Misterioso

        BINGO to Ben Factor and gotroy22, USC is not very good.

        • betomas

          Don’t say that to TFail. Where is TFail now anyway? No more rah rah sunshine pumping from him now?

          • TrojanFan

            I saw some good and bad!. USC won and I cashed a fat ticket on the under

            RAH RAH RAH!!!

            Are you still chasing dead-ends?

      • betomas

        Exactly how I feel.

      • Michigan Trojan

        It’s the first game of the season boys, coming of a really bad one. Baby steps. I get the worry, but just relax, and have a homebrew!

        • TrojanFan

          EXACTLY!….Cheers!

      • Hey SUC’s

        Eureka! An very astute analysis. Kiffy should hire you to whisper in his ear daily.

  • Brian

    Wolfy likes to point out when the Trojans don’t cover the spread…so, I want to note that, as bad as they played, Kiffy and the Trojans actually covered the spread.

    • gotroy22

      We didn’t cover. The spread was 24, not 17.

      • Golden Trojan

        They covered the spread if you went to bed with 30 seconds still left in the game. Hate those garbage time TDs. Must crush the compulsive gamblers.

        • TrojanFan

          It’s called a back-door-cover!

          I cashed a fat ticket on the under and USC won, I’m all tingly!

          • Golden Trojan

            Buying drinks for the cadre?

          • TrojanFan

            Sure, let me doctor them up a little!

            8===D<<<

  • Goatboy Kiffin

    Every game under Kiffin seems like a loss. He is a lifeless and his boring stale offense. Going to be a long year. If not for an easy schedule … this is an 8 loss team.

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      Wait till they play a team that has a QB who can throw and an o-line that can block, this season is going to be ugly.

      • TrojanFan

        Don’t watch!

        Looks like shitter #2 could use your skills….ouch!

        • Goatboy Kiffin

          watching a Goat Kiffin coached team is the best comedy on TV … how do you not watch. Like a funny train wreck

  • john wolcott

    Disappointing, to be sure. But in sports even good teams can have a bad game.

    A silver lining is that defense wins championships. Of course, critics will say it was only Hawaii.

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      It was only Hawaii.

      • TrojanFan

        “critics will say it was only Hawaii.”

        Exactly, narrow-minded trolls!

      • marvgoux1

        Is Wazoo better or worse than Hawaii?

        • TrojanFan

          I would think better. They play at Auburn tomorrow

  • Golden Trojan

    Defense is good and will get better, pitched a shut out till 30 seconds left. Special teams pretty good, no kickoffs out of the end zone. Running game good but no breakout speed in there last night and nothing up the middle. The passing game struggled for sure mostly from lack of timing. Wolf should listen to the broadcast and not try to report. Lee was getting pressured all night and timing was off. Kiffin managed Kessler well pulling him when it would not affect his confidence. Kessler has touch but weaker arm. Wittek is strong but lacks touch. I bet Kiffin goes with Kessler, his decisions will get better and faster with experience, Wittek has no finesse. Kiffin needs to pick the QB and go with it. Passing is too complicated to have two different style of QBs trading time. This team will get better. Fight On!

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      Your local high school team could play excellent defense against Hawaii. USC is not very good.

      • TrojanFan

        You’re clueless, focus on the shitter

        • Joe Blow

          Honestly, we looked horrible. We are in trouble if we continue like this.

          • TrojanFan

            The defense performed well, minus Berslin, offense was a different story. In general, Offenses are always behind to start the season and the QB situation isn’t helping matters out, give it some time.

            With this being the first game of the season and more importantly on the road, nothing surprised me. This offense has some weapons, I’m optimistic

          • Joe Blow

            I hope you are right. DISAPPOINTED is the word I’d use. I thought we’d perform better. Next game could, no, will be the tell tale.

          • Hey SUC’s

            Unfortunately Joe, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Just image what will happen when SCU meets a team with an actual QB and a decent offense.

      • Michigan Trojan

        Easy, easy, easy Misterioso. Just relax, and have a homebrew.

      • Hey SUC’s

        L’Anglo, your insight is right on the money.

    • 1Emmit

      Kessler’s goal following months of his coach’s indecision was not to make a mistake and blow a hard won opportunity. Kessler performed pretty well. I don’t think it was Kessler who called a drop back pass from his own end zone when three runs and a punt would have been a better play calling sequence. Lee dropped a critical Kessler pass on a drive ending play early. Also, Lee dropped a pass from Wittek on one of the few plays when Wittek was not being chased or sacked.

      • Cloud Shaman

        I agree with you. We never got a chance to see Cody throw some bombs as well. His first outing was to be the game manager of a blowout. However, the Hawaiians D came to play. The o-line sucked.

  • I wanted to be JK McKay

    good news, bad news, good news and worst news

    Good-Defense looked energized and making plays.

    Bad-I see the problem with QB, it’s not that they are both so good the KIFF can’t pick, it is that they are both so timid and he instills no confidence in his offensive squad.

    Good-KIFF can start collecting his gifts on his farewell tour as the other teams start thanking him for bringing USC down to their level with an assist from Reggie Bush and family.

    Worst-This poor talented young defense is gonna get the sh*t kicked out of them and injuries will pile up because the KIFF can’t even call a decent 3rd down play, I mean really 3rd and long against Hawaii and you run it into the heart of a swarming defense….can you say gutless

    • Michigan Trojan

      Unfortunately this is a good post. But hey, relax, and have a homebrew.

  • Chad Parker

    Wolfie, why do I even come here when the proofreading is at the level of a 1st grader? You are concerned about Kiffin running one of the most prestigious football programs in the country, and you can’t even double check your own work before hitting send. Clean out your own closet before reporting on another’s. Or just report the facts, not personal rifts.

    ““I think we both played well,” Kiffin said. “Whatever Kiffin decides, we’re ready for.””

    Wittek said that, genius.

  • Chad Parker

    Wolfie, it’s called a TEAM. When the defense picks up the offense in the SEC, people drool. You are a moron if you think we are winning any games with offense. Our defense will win gamaes this year. Conservative play calling in week 1, on the road, in a time zone no one knows, with a rookie QB and running back. Yeah, let’s listen to a hack reporter with an agenda. Pathetic Wolfie, truly pathetic.

  • Stu Azole

    Seriously, tell me that Browne is actually worse than the other two clowns. How can that be?

    • TrojanFan

      Hey STUpid AZhole, you seem to be an expert on USC football, answer it yourself!

      • Stu Azole

        I’m thinking it can’t be. He’s saving Browne just like Rick did Hundley before he got sh*tcanned.

  • Joe H

    We all assume Hawaii stinks but college football is a funny thing especially for 18-22 year old “kids” away from home in Hawaii for the fist game of the year. All teams will struggle at some point, often in the first weeks of a season. I’ll take the win.

    Against a poor offense, the defense looked great. The d-line is a beast and will win games this year when it counts. The DBs are solid when the quarterback is under pressure. I have always liked Dion Bailey. The SS position in this D is perfect for him. I just hope he stays healthy.

    Now to Kiffin, when he had a full squad he went 8-5 and 10-2. The scholarships reductions are a killer, no matter who the coach is. The effects will last for two or three more years. Haden knows this, but the pressure from shortsighted fans to win now might be too much for him to keep Kiffin no matter what Kiffin does.

    When Kiffin and Sakisian took over calling plays after Chow left, in a joint interview they said that they did not know what play Chow would call next, but they would be a more predictable. When your own assistants can’t predict the next play call, the opposing coach has no idea what is coming. Awesome: I have always respected Chow back to his BYU days. Kiffin’s play calling is predictable, but his play calling is not my real concern.

    Last year’s record did not bother me due the scholarship issue. But the way the team fell apart was a troubling reflection on Kiffin. The penalties and undisciplined play the last 6 weeks were embarrassing. Kiffin is still young. If he figures out how to fix those issues this year, fine. A team takes on the personality of the coach. Was last year’s team a reflection of Kiffin’s true nature? If you believe Kiffin’s bad press from Oakland to Tennessee, then maybe. I hope not. I keep telling myself that I have no idea what Kiffin is really like so we should give him a chance with a full squad. I fear his true nature may have been in plain view the final six games of last year.

    • Cloud Shaman

      I think he is showing his players that he cares for them. That will pay dividends in the long run.

    • marvgoux1

      Are you Jay Carney?

  • Michigan Trojan

    A lot of thoughts, but I’ll limit it to the good and the bad:

    GOOD-
    *Defense:
    Beyond the obvious dominance of the front 7 and the safeties, I was glad to Kennard being so disruptive. Ruffin was a nice surprise. Dawson looked as aggressive as I’ve seen him in a Trojan uniform. And we finally have some ball-hawking safeties. Hopefully gone are the days the “big hit” safety (a la Taylor Mays). Cravens looks like a senior out there.

    *Special Teams:
    We simply didn’t kick FGs or PATs last year, even when Heidari was suited up. Other than that dumb**s call to go for it on 4th down in the first series they took the FGs when they had them. That in itself may win us a game or two this year (would’ve helped against Stanford and Arizona last year too).

    *Running Back:
    Madden and Davis played well despite the poor push from the O-Line. And that was their first collegiate game. If Kiffin is going to be stubborn about anything, run the ball 60-70% of the game for all I care. By the second half, the Hawaii D was a lot less aggressive. Keep them honest. Davis and Madden are big backs – something we haven’t had a lot of at SC in the last few years. With some of the strong D-Lines we’re going to face this year (Stanford, ASU, Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA), we’re going to need to get in the mentality of attacking their core, even if it doesn’t work at first. Body punches are way more effective than jabs or hooks over the course of a competitive fight. But Kiff and Summers will need to be much more efficient on the O-Line play-calling for that to happen.

    BAD-
    *Offensive Line:
    The interior looked okay, but the tackles were getting blown off the line. There were missed assignments (two of the sacks were led by untouched LBs). The run blocking got better as the game went on (Graf in particular), but this has to be the focal point of LK and Summers over the next three weeks, before they face a stout Front 7 at ASU. For what it’s worth, I saw several excellent second-level blocks by Randall Telfer. On every long run he was the key seal block. And Madden looks to have a good second effort, saved a few negative yardage plays, getting back to the l-o-s in the midst of a blitz.

    *Kiffin’s play-calling:
    Looked like he limited his plays depending on who was at QB. Felt like they were trying to play a more wide open game under Wittek. This is not simply because he has a stronger arm, it’s because Kiffin looks like he designs his offense around the personnel instead of trying to get them to buy into his “system.” Kessler made the best play of the game when he audibled the post pass to Agholor because he saw single coverage. Kiff would’ve never called that up. Also, I HATED that Kiff went for it on the first 4th down of the night – total nightmares of last year (we probably left 40-50 pts on the field in potential FGs and PATs alone in 2012). And he still looks like he allergic to the middle of the field. Liked that he targeted Grimble early, but he quickly went away from it when Hawaii started blitzing more. Note to Kiff: Use the TE dump to offset some of those blitzing LBs.

    *Cornerbacks:
    Anthony Brown actually looked impressive early on, before he was injured. He’s the only CB presently who looks like he likes being in man-to-man coverage. Torrin Harris was terrible. If I were an opposing OC, I would attack him all day. Shelton was okay – good in run support, but he looks raw at the moment. If they can shore up this position, this D will be really interesting to watch against the read-option type QBs that torched us last year.

    • I wanted to be JK McKay

      well said

      but don’t hate that he went for it on 4th, HATE that this O line couldn’t get 2 yards against Hawaii!!

      • TrojanFan

        192 yards on the ground, what’s wrong with that. The passing game had the issues

        • I wanted to be JK McKay

          the problem is Sir…….

          a USC that I expect, over the 40 years of being a fan, should of had that in the first half.

          • TrojanFan

            First game on the road, you need to walk before you can run!

        • marvgoux1

          This looked like 2 junior college teams playing. Just terrible football. If it wasn’t SC I would have turned it off.

    • gotroy22

      The team and Kiffin deserve praise for the 2 minute drill at the end of the first half that yielded a field goal.

  • Cloud Shaman

    There are some other probable variables that need to be factored into an assessment of this game performance.

    1) This game was played with a scrimmage mentality with the two quarterbacks getting a half. Also you must factor in that Norm Chow knows Kiffin’s mentality and tendencies since he was his boss. He knew Lane because of his qb platooning was not going to open up the game in the first half and he was going to be establishing a very conservative approach so they knew it was coming. In Kessler defense, he played against a fresh Hawaii crew and Justin Davis was the better break away back for Wittek against a tired Hawaii line.

    Kessler was just trying to implement the game plan he was given and only had the keys to a Prius and not the Ferrari. The only o-line sucked.

    2) What I saw Kiffin do that is a sign of growth. He likes his team and his players and they like each other. His gesture to keep Cody Kessler in the game was stellar. I saw Max giving Cody encouragement. When this team gels and get their rhythm they will start to put away some teams.

    3) To take advantage of the skills of his quarterbacks and players he needs to get a hurry up offense in place for the first half to tire out the opposing d line and keep them off balance. The medium to long counts gets them in position to make adjustments, dig in and disrupt plays.

    4) I like Clancy Pendergast. The dude has the eyes of a big cat and just kept bringing all night long.

  • CheattheSystem

    I can’t believe you get paid to write the jumbled mess that the Daily News published on your behalf…My sophomores write better than you most days…

  • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

    This was not a good team having a bad night. This was a mediocre team playing terrible offense and half-decent defense against a bad team. The best hit of the night was made by Hawaii’s quarterback when he sent Seymour into the next time zone. What does that tell you?

  • UCLA Owns the Rose Bowl

    This was not a good team having a bad night. This was a mediocre team playing terrible offense and half-decent defense against a bad team. The best hit of the night was made by Hawaii’s quarterback when he sent Seymour into the next time zone. What does that tell you?