Never a dull moment in USC land. The Trojans flew to Seattle to take on the Washington Husky’s wounded and all. But this USC team has more quality depth in 2019 than in pervious years so injuries aside they are talented. Having an abundance of talent and a less than stellar development regime has proven way too costly to the Clay Helton staff. They are not able to win winnable games against good teams. Yesterday the Trojans faced a good Husky team. They have their question marks and were banged up a bit but USC had many chances to win this game. If only they knew how to win.
Developing talent in this day and age of College football is more important than harvesting all the 5 Star and 4 Star athletes you can convince to invest in your program and school. The Trojans have wasted the past 4 years in this area in my opinion and this will continue under the current leadership of Clay Helton. Our team can win the winnable games but they haven’t figured out the nuances that get you there. There is interesting staff talent but unproven and then there are the two known entities in Clancy Pendergast and John Baxter who were not part of the sweep the halls move made by Clay Helton last year. There is an argument that the defense is getting better although there are still issues with how they manage their containment on the edge and rotate players in to keep them sharp and rested for the full ride.
Clancy gets a pass in my book as he is still not getting the type of offensive results that help a defense in the area of field position and time of possession. Clancy and the defense are carrying way too much burden. John Baxter started the year with a bang and the special teams were looking good. But a promising punter who was booming the ball since his arrival suddenly is under 40 yards per punt and seems to be truly pressing as if his natural ability has been altered. Coaching should be able to fix this unless they are the reason for the changes and thus the poor statistical performance. Overall the special teams are still not where they should be given all this athletic talent that Baxter has at his disposal. More is needed with less.
In yesterdays loss to the Huskies the Trojans were inside the five yard line twice and came away with no points. They got over 200 yards rushing but it didn’t feel right. The passing was pathetic and it appeared as if we were throwing in to the strength of the defense repeating the errors of the BYU game and quite frankly (I said this prior) the Utah game. Utah is key to this as even though statistically Matt Fink had amazing stats his 50/50 balls were more athletically won as you revisit the tape. Against the Huskies the Trojans get those two scores inside the 5 yard line and this game turns. The running game could have been even more impactful had the score been evened out with those two drives. Mental mistakes from lack of playing time (Fink) and a general misread on the coverages was too much for this Trojan offense on this day.
That eerie feeling of 2018 and the Ground Hog Day effect was starting to eek out into the chat rooms watching the game anxiously. That feeling that this years team that showed so much promise they appear to have drifted back to the past. This staff owns this problem and they too are not performing at a level that was expected. Many will say that this team was too injured to be expected to win this game. But if they executed on two drives its at a minimum an overtime game. This game was winnable no if’s ands or but’s. This should not have happened as this version of the Washington Huskies was not that good yesterday. Average team playing a team that can’t seem to find its identity.
We head in to the bye week with a lot of question marks and then hitch a ride to South Bend where no one knows what will happen there.