Game Management 101

"USC v Utah"

I already mentioned the use of timeouts but I think it deserves another mention considering USC has lost three games already. Remember the defense was confused right before the Arizona State Hail Mary play? USC burned its final timeout on the previous possession right before Cody Kessler’s 16-yard punt.

Against Utah, USC had third-and-2 at the 28 but never ran the ball to make the Utes use their final timeout. That allowed Utah to discuss what to do before the game-winning TD.

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Roster Depth Charge

For the scholarship-reduction crowd, USC suited up a season-low 48 recruited scholarship players and played a season-low 41 of those players. You can only take 65 players on conference road games. USC suited up 50 and played 42 against Arizona in the previous road game.

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USC Morning Buzz: The Shock Of Losing No Longer Applies

With three losses, USC is not stunned after games like it was earlier in the season.

We’ve lost in worse ways, I guess,” USC linebacker Su’a Cravens said. “Arizona State would probably be the worst loss we had, and we came back and beat the No. 10 team in the nation (Arizona) at their house.

“This is not a new situation. It kills morale. It sucks to lose like this. But we’re a football team. We’ll be back at it next week.”

Full story here

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Adoree Jackson’s Play Count

"Tim Patrick,  Adoree' Jackson"

Freshman cornerback Adoree Jackson spent a season-high 69 plays on defense last night and a season-high 19 on special teams. He has not played offense the past four games.

“Quite honestly, I’d like to use him more on offense,” Steve Sarkisian said, but added it is not possible with the secondary shorthanded.

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Dominic Davis Commits To USC

Alemany tailback Dominic Davis switched his commitment from Washington State to USC tonight. Davis’ stock inscreased through the season and he was always expected to choose another school once he drew interest from better programs.

Interesting timing with USC playing Washington State this week.

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Sunday Night With Sarkisian

"USC v Utah"Offensive tackle Chad Wheeler is out for the season with a torn ACL in his knee. Wheeler got hurt on third play of game but went another 7-8 plays afterward. Defensive end J.R. Tavai will be out several weeks with an injury. Javorius Allen banged up his shoulder but is expected to be OK, Steve Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian said the Trojans “need to develop a killer instinct” in games. Asked if a smaller roster explains why USC wilts at end of games, Sarkisian said, “I won’t ever lean on that.”

Sarkisian said, “I don’t feel this conference race is over,” despite the Trojans being fourth in the Pac-12 South. “There were some really cool things that came out of the game that get lost when you lose.”

Sarkisian said USC was “totally prepared” for a pass on the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds left.

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Lingering USC Questions

"John Plattenburg, Westlee Tonga"

1. Why is snapping such a problem on road games? Noise, of course. But should Max Tuerk go back to his natural position and Toa Lobendahn take some snaps. Or should USC use less shotgun on road? USC fumbled under center in second quarter but it is practiced less now.

2. I thought USC’s defense did a great job until the last drive. But what is going on with defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox’s schemes in those situations. Does the defense get confused with Wilcox’s schemes at the end of games? Is he communicating his message properly?

3. Should an offensive coordinator call plays?

4. What is going on with the use of timeouts and forcing teams to call their timeouts? Remember USC did not have a timeout right before the Arizona State Hail Mary because it burned its final timeout right before Cody Kessler’s 16-yard punt.

And last night, USC had third-and-2 at the 28 but failed to make Utah burn its final timeout, which allowed the Utes to discuss what to do before the game-winning TD.

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Scott Ross Tribute

scott.rossFormer USC players were among those to pay tribute to Scott Ross, the 1990 Pac-10 defensive player of the year in this story from my colleague Mark Whicker.

“We beat Oklahoma in 1988 and the way Scott played changed my style of play,” former USC QB Todd Marinovich said. “It’s the way Trojans play. Have as much fun as you want. Scream as loud as you want. He became my role model. It was rad.”

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