The Latest Line

Notre Dame opens as a four-point favorite over USC. The biggest problem for USC is that Notre Dame is not an average or below-average opponent.

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  • CORTEZ THE KILLER

    I told you to take Utah and the 11 points last week, this week, give the 4 and take the Domers, this game will be ugly

    • Gabby

      I thought you were done for the day…….any family?

      • Pudly76

        One that admit it

        • steveg

          No family, cortez came from a test tube, and the test failed.

  • Traveler

    What’s the injury report? Will SC be in better shape for the Irish?

    Always a tough game in South Bend. ND is always pumped to beat down the Trojans at home. But keep in mind, the Irish have one signature win (Mich State). Other than their close loss to Georgia (who has had NO ONE on their schedule, yet highly rated because, you know, SEC), ND hasn’t even been tested. If the USC of the 2nd half vs Utah is a glimpse into the team’s performance during the last few games, they could lay a whoopin’ on ND!

  • Thinker

    Not surprising:

    1. ND is at home
    2. ND is coming off a bye week
    3. SC has not had a bye week
    4. SC has injured players
    5. Ajene Harris returns (mostly never) punts for SC
    6. Iman Marshall regularly gets beat or incurs a PI call
    7. Jack Jones regularly gets beat and is too busy trash talking
    8. Gomer is SC’s head coach (probably a neutral factor to Kelly being ND’s head coach)

  • Golden Trojan

    Good this team needs to be hungry for respect.

  • Sas

    Should be a dandy.

    GO TROJANS!

    But tonight…..

    GO DODGERS!!!!!!!!!!

  • Yale O. Leftwich

    Stanford ,Utah,Wash St not avg or below avg either,and Texas gave OK all it wanted…I actually think Utah game was a great prep for ND.If that 2nd half SC. plays 4 qtrs vs ND. ..they will win.

    • Pete Smith

      do we know how to play a whole game for the win

  • RegalTrojan

    I reckon this game will be a very tough one for us despite the rainbow-colored optimism by some of my co-contributors. We are 6-1, but we’re not exactly playing better right now, compared to how we were playing around this time last year. And ND is clearly a better team than they were last year, AND they’re playing at home this year. To be real honest, I’d be a real ecstatic to see our team pull it out on Saturday. We’ll need to play all four quarters like we did in the second half of last night’s game to have a chance, though.

    • Michael Guarino

      A lot of people forget, RT, that without Adoree Jackson last year, we would’ve had a real dogfight on our hands. It would be nice if we had someone on Special Teams who could return a punt or kickoff. Cheap, quick touchdowns really steal the other team’s heart.

      • Jack B

        I knew we’d miss Adoree really bad. We all did.

        We have absolutely no threat of any return ever. Ajene Harris just doesn’t have that chip, but he made a fantastic play to stop Williams last night for our win and for that, all is forgiven. He was a hero, but he can’t return a punt for the life of him.

        • Michael Guarino

          All true —every word.
          #ButSomebodyNeedsToReturnAKickOff

        • joecohen66

          But why is he still asked to do it???? It’s our coach. We probably have the worst returner in the entire country. I mean the guy is almost afraid to touch the ball. The coaches have imposed so much of their restraints on our players, there is almost no creativity in our plays. And our players were all 4 or 5 star recruits. If we lift the shackles on our players, we will do fine. Otherwise, we are doomed.

        • JBKayak

          Scott said he was too small and wouldn’t be a first round pick. I see Nickell Robey with a great pick today. Same size and Adoree is more athletic

          • Jack B

            Adoree was an awesome all-time USC player. If we had him on our team now, we would be undefeated and a PO team.

            We’ll all know a lot more after ND. So many questions still need answering.

      • RegalTrojan

        MG, I guess our love for Trojan football connects us because I was thinking exactly that last night! Fight on!

        • Michael Guarino

          Fight on, bro!

      • George Diabes

        The greatest point was when Jackson got torched by Fisher – speed against speed one quick inside move and it was all over. ND misses Fisher way more than USC misses Jackson.

        • Michael Guarino

          The sun got in Adoree’s eyes……

        • Scott Havsy

          It is a Will Fuller… not Fisher

    • LamontRaymond

      Domers haven’t proven much this year, save for a close loss to UGA. Should be an entertaining game.

      • Jack B

        Turns out a close loss to GA is pretty darn impressive.

        Kelly needs this win bad and you know the Irish will be ready big-time. They’ve got a shot at their best season in awhile.

        I just hope we can squeak one out. Seems to be we are fairly talented at that.

        • Fred Sampson

          Once again, if USC has some success running the ball, then they will win , because overall, they have more offense than Notre Dame.

          • Michael Guarino

            Agreed. We have SO may more weapons. Now is the time to use them ALL.

          • steveg

            I noticed that the OC got the memo about throwing in a few wrinkles. They showed the roll out and some play action passes. I think they will have a few more for ND to make adjustments for. Throwing to the TE is going to open Burnett and Vaughns hopefully, ND won’t be able to double cover so much. With USC it seems the passing game has to work for the run game to get going.

          • Michael Guarino

            If Sam can ditch the early game nerves, and get off to a good start, we can give Notre Dame a full dose of tight ends, running backs— as well as wide receivers— catching the ball. Then watch out for Rojo —-hope he’s 100% for this game. He was amazing against one of the best d-lines in college football last night (one that is several rungs up the ladder from Notre Dame’s).

      • RegalTrojan

        Entertaining? Yes, if we win. If we lose? Not so much. LOL!

        • Grammymb

          Deep

    • Pete Smith

      play a whole game to win What a great idea

      • RegalTrojan

        Without it, we’ll have no chance in this game. As simple as that!

  • hoohoolianFUCLA

    2 keys for USC to win:

    1. Pendergast must scheme to stuff the run and force the pass. (ND has an awful passing offense. Even 3 Iman blunders should not cost us the game!)

    2. Darnold must protect the ball.

    • Jack B

      IMO, we have to be able to run too. That’s how USC beats the Irish and look how much of a positive effect our running game had on Darnold last night. He became his old self by not trying and having to do too much.

      • RegalTrojan

        Running game will be crucial, JB. Hopefully, last night’s pep talk by Swannie will still be in effect on Saturday.

      • Fred Sampson

        The coaching staff has a one track mind, and that’s been the problem at USC since Pete Carroll left, everybody wants to be the next Lavell Edwards.

        • RegalTrojan

          However, Norm Chow was highly effective. Sark? Not exactly. Sometimes students flop quite miserably. LOL!

        • steveg

          So what you are saying is USC has to run to be successful. Is that to establish the run game before passing? It has seemed to me that when USC could throw, the running lanes were not plugged with linebackers and safeties so much. Passing game keeps the defense honest as the run keeps them honest. The key is to have them on their heels not knowing what is coming next.

          • USC jojo

            You are exactly right . Teams have been stacking the box, forcing USC to beat them with the pass. USC has to establish the pass in order to open up the run.

            USC is not built to play like Stanford. I doubt that Helton is looking to built a team that is physical and runs a pro style offense like Stanford.

          • steveg

            It breaks Freds heart but the Power I will not return to USC anytime soon.

          • USC jojo

            I feel his pain.

          • Jack B

            Helton has always said he wants a run-first team. I’ve heard it many times.

            Problem is, he’s never had the 0-line to pull that off. Few do. Guys like Wheeler, Banner and Mama could never pull it off and they’re all NFL practice squadders.

            I don’t know if USC can recruit and consistently sign the best o-liners in the country anymore. But if they can, I think you’ll see the Trojans pound the ball. Always easier said than done, which is why so few can do it.

            But IMO, that’s what Helton truly wants because once you have that, you’ve got the ability to control every game you’re in, just like USC did in the 2nd half last night. Suddenly USC went from total crap to domination.

          • USC jojo

            Hopefully I am wrong. I see him as one of today’s new breed of coaches, that pass to establish the run. Where they will have a 1000 yard rusher, but are looking to run quick scoring offenses that may run a total of plays in the 80’s. Sark had a 1000 yard rusher up in Washington, but they couldn’t stop anybody. Those offenses, in my opinion, are bad for your defense, because they are on the field too long.

          • Jack B

            Well, if you are right, I hope Helton is fired at season’s end. Period. End of story.

            But I don’t for a second believe Swann, who should know and is totally old school, wants any part of Sark’s offensive scheme or thinking. If Helton can’t figure that out, then he’s one of the truly stupidest coaches in America and I am willing to give him a lot more credit than that. Swann has already had serious talks with Helton about his vision and Helton is very clear about what Swann wants – and it’s NOT Sark ball.

            Sometimes coaches have to run what they’re material will support. USC does not have superior OL talent yet. Hardly!

            It like why do we keep playing Grabby Marshall as a starting corner when he can’t cover crap and is guilty of PI 10X a game. Answer – we continue to start him because we are weak at CB and have nobody else to step into his fire-starter shoes.

          • USC jojo

            Well Jack, I hope that is the case. I want him to succeed and I see him as a man of integrity.

            I just hope these slow, sloppy starts are not part of his culture, where he comes out as a nice guy with that “don’t worry do it better next time” mentality.

            Let’s see how they finish. If they can finish with great success, recruits will follow.

            Thanks for your excellent input.

          • Jack B

            I wish Helton showed more killer instinct and have no idea why this team is all over the map. I just think we have some personnel weaknesses which are more a part of our issues than scheme. Play-calling seemed improved, but maybe that’s just because we suddenly started clicking in the 2nd half,

            We’re still the Win Ugly Bunch. I have no idea how we will end up. Not sure Helton does either.

      • schammer47

        You hit the nail on the head, Jack B.

    • USC jojo

      Do not forget the most important key…. let Darnold be Darnold and let Jones be Jones.

      Notre Dame will do what every other team has done. Load the box and make Sam beat you. It’s important that Darnold get off to a good start and force Notre Dame to move guys out of the box, so they can set up the run. Had Darnold not fumbled and played bad the first half, I believe USC would have blown out Utah.

      Playing the way they did in the 2nd half, is something very positive to build on.

      Fight On! I am actually excited to see this game.

      • steveg

        Totally agree.

    • Paul Muad’dib

      If USC blocks for Sam Darnold, USC should win easily. He is afraid for his life back there. Toa lets people blow right by him on a constant basis.

      • joecohen66

        Didn’t you see our OL were on the stance for almost 30 seconds on every play before we snap the ball? Try it yourself and see if your legs get tired. Tee Martin intentionally delayed his play calling (that is why Darnold almost looked to the sideline for play while our OL were aligned in stance) by 15 seconds. His reason? He wanted to keep our defense off the field for a few extra seconds. It’s Tee Martin’s stupid trickery play calling that disrupted our offensive rhythm. When Darnold is in rhythm he is unstoppable.

        • FIGHTONtoVICTORY

          Think of how great it would be if we started huddling again. Get the play in, sprint to the line and snap the ball ASAP so that the defense doesn’t have time to comfortably line up.

          • joecohen66

            That is an excellent point. Why do we sprint to the line scrimmage and do nothing??? Another Tee Martin’s dumb idea.

    • joecohen66

      Can’t believe you are ignorant on Tee Martin’s stupid play calling. which is the root of all our problems.

      • hoohoolianFUCLA

        I can’t believe you’re attacking me for not spouting your agenda. I could more easily say what you want me to say if only you would tell me first.

        Oh, please tell me what to say — PLEASE!!

  • Jack B

    This is a game where anything can and will happen. I think the line’s good. GA’s a terrific team and only beat ND by 1 in South Bend.

    We need to have the Darnold of old, the USC running game of last night and if we win the turnover battle, we’ll take ’em.

    We’re a little healthier now and some new players have really emerged like Petite, Rector, Falo and especially Vaughns, our next great WR.

    This will be our biggest test for sure and the UTAH victory should be a real shot in the arm for our often-strugging team.

    All bets are off. Fight On and Beat the Irish!

    • hoohoolianFUCLA

      Good call on the young standouts: Rector, Falo and Vaughns.

      Hopefully Tee learned something last night against Utah.

    • Gabby

      Will Carr and Gustin be ready to go?

      • Jack B

        No idea. I kinda doubt it based on last week’s reports. So I’m not counting on them and if they aren’t truly healthy, I don’t think they’d be factors in a game of this magnitude.

        • Pudly76

          At least if they ran last week but I didn’t see any on that this week.

          • Jack B

            Carr would be nice but Rojo and MalePeai are fine. Running back who injures his foot? I’m betting no way for true frosh Carr.

            Gustin has a toe and a chest muscle tear. I’m not buying his return against ND either. He returned too quickly against CAL, our bad.

          • Pudly76

            My thoughts exactly, torn pec/bisep worries me more than his toe, and Carr’s foot isn’t worth the gamble. Vaivae and Aca should be great.

          • steveg

            Ware is due to have a break out game.

      • Clay Russell

        They were talking about Gustin being ready for ASU.

  • David Keeling

    Clay Helton’s coaching staff has been living with mirrors these past 7 games, with the lone exception of the Stanford game, playing to the level of the opponent. Helton & his hand picked staff better earn their money this week during practices and eliminate some of the mediocrity because Brian Kelly will have the domers ready and he will run up the score if he can. I hope Lynn Swan gets an eye full!

    • CORTEZ THE KILLER

      Swann is watching and he doesn’t like what he sees

    • Jack B

      Swann’s already made up his mind about what’s going on. I don’t think many people know just what that is. I’ve checked with my sources and they have no info, either bad or good.

      I’d like too see our DB coach moved out at season’s end. We need someone to coach up our corners especially. Either that or start recruiting much better talent that Grabby Marshall.

      • BEAT THE DOOMERS

        How about Hundley .. Green Bays in trouble .. 3 picks!

        • Jack B

          Nice! Ironically, it was Barr who knocked out Rodgers, thereby moving his old mate Hundley into the killing zone. Glad to hear Hundley flop all over. Just another bruin footballer who can’t cut it in the NFL.

          Calling all Trolls. Calling all Trolls…

          • BEAT THE DOOOMERS

            Exactly .. I changed by blog and photo.. Its “7” .. Green Bay is done this year.. Enjoyed USCs win and Uclas meltdown in Az.. Watching the Dodgers . Early week .. Flying out to see thursday am for the nd usc game..

      • fast fred

        Please let us all know when your “sources” come up with something–we can’t wait!

        • Pudly76

          Hey quicks draw, why does you’re ex-girl call you fast freddie?

        • Jack B

          Please let us know when you bruins don’t stink anymore Fast Freddie.

          I want to be on the front lines for that one so I can say I can remember where I was when it happened, like on 9/11. Good game last night Troll Boy. Hah, hah, hah. You stink.

  • Burak Uslu

    Yes, this USC team is talented, but not complete yet. But they poses the biggest weapon of all, they have a heart. I will continue to support them! If a team wants to win, they can always find a way.

  • hoohoolianFUCLA

    While Rector has been great, I hope that Porter gets back for this game.
    If he misses this game because they let him play 2 days after foot surgery, I’ll be pissed.

    Where’s Wole?

    • Golden Trojan

      That did not seem wise, playing him then. He’d likely be back by now if it’s the toe.

    • Michael Guarino

      The plan is to save Gustin until the Arizona Sate game. His muscle tear hasn’t fully healed.
      #HeWillBeGreatlyMissed

      • JBKayak

        He’ll be feeding on some Bruins, making a difference

        • Michael Guarino

          Ah! What a nice way to end the regular season (and enter the Pac 12 Championship game).

  • Clay Russell

    Listen, this is Stanford part II. Force ND to beat you throwing the ball and they’re yours. Load the box and run blitz and we can have the dominant win over a good team that we’re looking for. People are singing their praises and fearing them because they are “Norte Dame” but in name only. This year’s version is painfully one-dimensional and can be beaten if you limit that one dimension. It’s actually what teams have been doing to us and daring Sam to beat them.

    • Michael Guarino

      I haven’t watched Notre Dame, Clay. Is their attack just run-oriented? Or do they have a quarterback who plain can’t throw? It looks to me like even an average passer can have success throwing to whomever Marshall is covering. I’m asking cuz I’m sure they are expecting us to load the box and I’m wondering whether they have what it takes to surprise us.

      • steveg

        They have the ability to sting us some, but their bread and butter is on the ground. I totally agree on Marshall. I think USC has the talent to load the box and not make it look that way, we have the speed. Someone will need to stay home for the play action they will bring.

        • Michael Guarino

          Thanks, steveg! Very good stuff.
          I’ve been looking at the stats and USC and Notre Dame have been having remarkably similar seasons —-ranking about the same in yards gained and allowed, etc, etc. This has the making of a close contest —so I hope we’re the team that is in the plus range in turnovers.

      • Clay Russell

        They have a QB who is a good runner and a poor passer in my estimation. They are geared to run the ball and we’d do well to force them into passing situations as often as possible.

        • Michael Guarino

          Thanks, Clay. So —-I guess someone needs to mention to Iman that there’s more to playing corner than pass interference. [I’d sure love to see him redeem himself with a pick six in this game]!

          • Clay Russell

            He needs to turn and look for the ball on the deep patterns. The ball shouldn’t be hitting you in the back for any reason. He could do what he’s doing if he would just look back for the ball. He’s not an artful ball catcher either.

          • Michael Guarino

            I don’t remember Iman intercepting a ball this year —-but I recall a few going through his hands. For some reason —and you can see it in his face —he’s playing tight this season.

  • ItsAllAboutTheBall

    Weather Forecast looking favorable right now..No Rain and probably in the 60’s at Kickoff

    • schammer47

      Excellent !!!

  • Ray

    clancy needs to be fired…he wan’t control the defense

    • schammer47

      No, Ray gun. Clancy needs to stay. You need to go.

      • steveg

        Fire Clancy??????? Ya right.

        • schammer47

          steveg, Clancy needs to stay. But do you want Clancy fired ? Some do on this Blog. If you and Ray are bedfellows, both of you are idiots, IMO.

  • English 101

    The Latest Line – Part 2 — The over-under is January 1, 2018 (the end of your tenure as the USC beat “writer”). The biggest problem for USC is that your nonsense is protected by the First Amendment.

  • steveg

    Neither is USC. Does not look good for ND from my vantage point.

  • Pete Smith

    Take away their run game and make them beat us with the pass. Be ready for trick plays(double passes or halfback passes fake punts)

  • jim

    I’m glad. I don’t want SC to be the favorite in that game.