Thursday, July 05, 2007

USC Preview

When you are number one everybody saves their best game for you. Last years game between Washington, and USC was a classic example as the Huskies almost pulled off the upset. UW always plays these guy's tough, and USC nearly always has more talent on the roster.

The Trojan's go into 2007 with the pre-ordained crown of national champions on their head. Troy was young last year, and almost grabbed another shot at the title before suffering a dissapointing loss to UCLA to end the regular season. What the Trojan's lacked last season was enough offense to get over the rough spots. While Booty had a great year by most standards the Trojan's were not dominating rushing the ball by any means. Pete Carroll of course keeps bringing in HS All Americans to vie for the job at TB, and chances are good someone on the roster has a Heisman campaign in their not too distant future.

Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback John David Booty, a truckload of All-American receivers and backs, and a line that is supposed to be even more athletic than a year ago return on offense in 2007. Trojans have WRs Vidal Hazelton and Patrick Turner waiting in the wings, plus seven former prep All-American tailbacks to ease the burden if the passing attack takes a little while to get rolling.

The Trojans have ten starters back on a defense that was talented, but green last season. Troy is led by pass-rushing specialist Lawrence Jackson, tackling machine LB Rey Maualuga and former O'Dea safety Taylor Mays. S Josh Pinkard will remain at safety despite some thought of moving him to corner following the emergence of Taylor Mays in '06. Pinkard started the season, but suffered a season-ending knee injury. Mays does not look to be leaving his spot any time soon. That just leaves more depth, and continued competition. Look for the Trojan's to be improved on defense this season, in fact you can count on it.

The Consensus on USC

Everyone expects the Trojan's to make another run at the title game. The Pac Ten actually keeps improving each year, but the best year to have caught them would have been last season when the Beaver's, and Bruin's caught them. USC squeeked by quite a few times last year, but a champion knows how to win close games. By the end of last season the Trojan's were problaby the second best team in the country. Experience does things like that, and those green players now have a full year under their belt in Carroll's system.

Washington of course will be the underdog at home in this one, and like the past couple of years they are capable of making a game out of it if Locker can give teams the same frustrating looks that Stanback did last season. IS made a difference with his mobility, and a mobile QB is the one thing that can give a disiplined D like the Trojan's have fits.

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