Coach V’s Grades – USC

Sam Ehlinger (Will Gallagher/IT)
Sam Ehlinger (Will Gallagher/IT)

Note: The lowest passing grade is a B

We had a mixture of flashes combined with a steady workman like effort to beat a pretty good USC defense last night. We almost eliminated all ugly. It was obvious that we had all eleven focused and they stayed ready to keep from getting ready. Well done men.


















We are definitely undervaluing Calvin Anderson. He’s quietly making life easy on the left edge with terrific body positioning on running plays and keeping Sam upright on passing downs. Tip of the hat, sir.

Patrick Vahe is steady with solid efforts every week. He doesn’t have natural feet for pass blocking but has improved tremendously on both pass pro and run blocking on the pulls. Good senior.

Rodriguez has made the loss of Shack a thing of the past. He’s much better against an even front (USC) because as an uncovered center he makes great decisions, calls, and finds the troubled area. Snaps are solid.

Kerstetter is another guard that blocks better on pulls and angles than facing up to a close up head up. Derek made two blocks in space (watch the double pass back to Sam) that are star quality. Valuable swing guy that offers flexibility.

Cosmi is human after all. Two false starts downgraded a superior effort otherwise. Sam’s ability to take a defender’s outside shoulder while gaining ground upfield is as sweet as it gets. Sam is also a terrific pass pro and his ability to drive inside and bouncing up to the second level is flat out big time.

Andrew Beck made two first down grabs and offered a blocking presence that was above average until he couldn’t find his assignment. He’s a winning piece that has probably the hardest assignment sheet in our offense.

Cade Brewer is getting a good number of snaps and he’s learning. We must remember he’s coming off a knee and won’t be full strength for another period of time.

Kyle Porter did what he’s very good at—blocking the right guy at the right time. Don’t underestimate how important guys like Kyle are needed on every team.

Daniel Young ran tough but unfortunately had a red zone fumble that is a cardinal sin for this staff. He got a second chance and didn’t screw it up.

Watson had another good game with some crafty cuts and tough running. There is zero doubt that we are where we are offensively with the likes of Watson not only blending in but leading the charge forward.

Collin Johnson had a great game receiving and blocking. His block sprung LJH for six when we needed a shot in the arm. He’s a dandy when he’s focused. Somebody needs to have that assignment before every game.

Duvernay played extremely well despite not having a catch. It just wasn’t his night to have Sam’s most accurate throws but he blocked extremely well and was in position to make a play with a better throw.

Josh Moore had a great td catch and wasn’t shy about throwing his body into defenders. His blocking isn’t bloody nose good but his effort was—there’s hope in them thar hills.

Humphrey is just our best playmaker on offense. He might drop one occasionally but I like our chances when we throw to him. Big play td. It’s more fun to watch each week—they just keep getting better.

Sam is just Sam for better or worse. He took care of the offense with leadership. You can count his bad decisions on one hand. If Sam can keep improving at this rate we just might be tougher than a two dollar steak before it’s all said and done.

I wish we would eliminate the sprint out pass, especially on the GL. It takes away Sam’s weapon of running upfield when the protection breaks down. Our OL doesn’t block that scheme worth a kiss my butt either.

Let’s get them froggies—they got one coming from us

Breckyn Hager (Will Gallagher/IT(
Breckyn Hager (Will Gallagher/IT)

We gave up too many off schedule first downs early and our blitzes were poorly timed and ineffective as USC rolled up fourteen quick points. Once we settled down and figured out they weren’t going to take our whiskey and have their way with our women we played some fly to the football defense. We still have some glaring weakness areas and I’m just not sure they can be corrected without a change in personnel. We will see this week because TCU has the people to challenge a little of our honor in these respects.


















Charles Omenihu is our most underrated defender in the front seven. He made several sweet plays but the real value is his ability to play well from a three technique all the to a seven every week. I really like grading Charles, he’s a player period.

Hager is Hager. You get all out effort even if it’s misdirected or deflected in the wrong direction. Breck’s GL play is inspiring to say the least. He torched their OL non our GL stand. Hager must not be single covering slots when we stunt—we need to re-evaluate that proposition.

Chris Nelson played well and made four big time plays along the way. He may not be as disruptive as the Poona but he is a winning D1 nose in every respect. If he had Poona’s quickness he would be hell on wheels.

Wilbon plays his part with excitement—he may only get a handful of snaps but he gets his job done.

McCulloch is a better football player than he’s getting credit for. Watch his inside stunting and play-making. We need to include him in many more rotational situations and not just a the backup B backer.

Gary Johnson had his best game this year. He looked as fast as he did last year for the first time. His scrapes on QB scrambles are a thing of beauty. His blitzing still lacks athletic advice but the effort is as strong as ever.

Anthony Wheeler is a great Johnny on the spot. He had another “gift” td and that makes two since MJ. Wheeler had several tackles and other than being straight running stiff in coverage had a decent game. GJ and AW both need to get off blocks better than they are currently produce—if we are to be in the hunt that aspect must improve.

Mal Roach is our swiss knife from a variety of assignments. Every time you can’t figure out who made a tackle it’s usually Roach getting dirty under the pile. He’s not a great coverage player but his stunting is damn good. Hope he’s not hurt bad enough to miss any games.

Kris Boyd is a stud except for the first td run where he missed the tackle for whatever reason. Great interception. Big time player.

Cook got his first extended action (Boyce hurt?) and he did very well. He’s smooth as silk with his technique and is much stronger/tougher than I gave him credit for—he will be a starting corner next fall.

Sterns has a chance to be our best football player as a freshman. He is big time and his play on the GL is yes sir.

PJ Locke needs to find another position. He’s not good in coverage. He’s not good at taking angles. He’s suspect at making the sure tackle. He does find a way to make the “wow” play every week but his consistence is just not there.

Davis is a quality corner for what we ask of him. He makes the plays good corners make. Hoipe he’s available next week.

Jones has everything but the ball skills needed for a big time space safety. He mistimes his leaps, he takes questionable angles on the thrown ball, and he has skillet hands. He makes terrific tackles on hard to play runs but yet misses the average tackle at times. He can resist everything but temptation it seems he’s teasing us.

BJ Foster needed to play more snaps somewhere. We don’t have five secondary guys playing better than Foster—he needs to be on the field period. Shame he got the targeting and he will be missed the first half next week but I must admit I re-watched his hit 312 times and smiled every damn time. You can take me out of the olden times but you can’t take the olden times out of me. Just can’t help myself.

Josh Thompson has pure skill but still lacks the reps experience to become the quality player he will wind up being. He’s pure as a gunner on the punt team also.

Let’s GATA them damn frogs. We owe them.