Coach V’s Grades: USC

Cade Brewer (Will Gallagher/IT)

Cade Brewer (Will Gallagher/IT)

We have a long way to go before we match our defensive intensity. We have a distinct objection to even coming close to sacrificing our bodies for the good of the team. We throw way too many cupcake blocks and seldom attack defenders with the intent to win an individual battle. It appears we are content to stalemate a tie against our opponents because we certainly weren’t ready for the war the Trojans brought to the party.

There is little doubt most of us are dissatisfied with the play-calling from the booth. I can’t defend any OC that has refused to show any creative running game. I’m in total agreement that we have exactly zero offensive identity in the ground game and play selection makes even the slowest of us blink and scratch our heads. The problem is we still have to block whatever the hell is called regardless of whether it fits our strengths or magnifies our weaknesses. Them’s the rules—like it or not.

It didn’t help we lost another OL early and had to rely on two OT’s that should be backups at best. The sad part is our three inside guys were expected to be a strength we could count on and that didn’t happen. The OT’s matched holding penalties and allowed quick pressure but that was expected. The triangle (G-C-G) matched with “look-out” blocks of their own. They threw in a couple of penalties and the humper had two killing snaps and another where he laid an egg.

I’m having a hard time understanding coach Herman’s decision to stay with a TE on the majority of snaps when he is void at the position. I hoped he would start using motion to take the place/responsibility of a TE in this offense. Even the spider-tails could screen the backside better than the blocks our one TE is providing. We need to find a solution in our ground game that will help our extremely passive OL and go with Cade Brewer as our TE. Brewer enables us to give a receiving threat from the TE position which we currently don’t have a hint of—nobody says we must run the ball from a TE formation.

Off week at a good time.

11—Ehlinger—B-___(Fail)

21—Porter—B-___(Fail)

25—Warren—C+___(Fail)

3—Foreman—B+___(Pass)

6—Duvernay—C+___(Fail)

8—Leonard—B-___(Fail)

9—Johnson—A-___(Pass)

13—Heard—B___(Pass)

14—Joe—B-___(Fail)

17—Hemphill-Mapps—B___(Pass)

84—Humphrey—B+___(Pass)

88—Moore—C___(Fail)

80—Brewer—B___(Pass)

55—Williams—B___(Pass)

77—Vahe—C+___(Fail)

56—Shackelford—C-___(Fail)

64—McMillon—C+___(Fail)

75—Nickelson—C-___(Fail)

78—Okafor—C-___(Fail)

Okay, gotta admit that was fun watching our defense last night. I don’t even mean we played well because as individuals we still made too many mistakes. We did play extremely hard in most cases but unfortunately we still had a few that aren’t in the same area code effort wise. I wish everybody made the same strides in one week’s improvement as our middle backer and both safeties did this week. It’s amazing what good happens when players turn it totally loose by playing hard and fast.

We have a major problem with our DC’s lack of adjustments to certain situations. We will get run out of two or more stadiums if we continue leave our 4i (and loose nickel) as the edge against a tight wing. I understand Orlando likes his blitz packages, especially two off the wide side edge but they can’t catch the uncontested sweep into the boundary QB’s are checking off to when they see our premature alignment. USC never even wavered after the first time.

While I’m at it I don’t think our 3 man line is effective on the goalline either. I don’t know what it is about our last three DC’s but having eight defenders three yards deep in the end zone isn’t very comforting to me when I see tight formations sticking the ball up ours without a challenge. It really helped getting that fourth DL in the game before they scored. Roach made one heck of a play on 4th down.

Notes to whom it may concern:

Gary Johnson scrapes and attacks like MJ did yesterday. I look forward to where the two are interchangeable and playing at the same time. Having two different individuals (positions) able to blitz the pass makes the offense play both possibilities. It also allows us to feature two different players/positions to scrape and force from playside and backside. Johnson needs to play much more period.

We need to spell out contain to Locke because he has no idea that he is the contain as the nickel DB. The memo/message

We need to eliminate all man coverage from Brandon Jones plate. He was much more at ease running and shooting but stood flat-footed in cement when aligning to cover the slot.

Hill continues to play team ball and despite one missed tackle on Jones td at the half played extremely well. Boyd, on the other hand, remains in the twilight zone from down to down.

One of the hardest things to do as a coach is to keep playing talent that isn’t dependable at fulfilling his job responsibility. We are currently at that point with more than one player on defense.

32—Roach—A-___(Pass)

90—Omenihu—A-___(Pass)

97—Nelson—A-___(Pass)

95—Ford—A-___(Pass)

94—Wilbon—A-___(Pass)

40—Hughes—B___(Pass)

44—Hager—B—(Pass)

45—Wheeler—B-___(Fail)

46—Jefferson—A-___(Pass)

23—McCulloch—B___(Pass)

33—Johnson—B+-___(Pass)

2—Boyd—C+___(Fail)

4—Elliott—A-___(Pass)

5—Hill—A-___(Pass)

11—Locke—B-___(Fail)

18—Davis—B___(Pass)

24—Bonney—B___(Pass)