2 Different teams
Since Fox Sports 1400 launched back in February, Hauser and I (Clary) have been basically saying the same thing about this USC football team…Good D, very good DL, but where are the playmakers?
In the first half, that’s exactly what we saw. No downfield passing, tons of terrible penalties, David Williams..well being David Williams, and just a dreadful performance on offense. We also saw a DL that looked strong, a defense that outside of one drive looked very good and played very aggressive. But again, the offense was overwhelmingly terrible.
In the 2nd half, a different team…and a different play caller came out. USC finally started at least attempting passes down the field. In a game, you have to at least attempt to pass it down the field to back the safeties up. It just so happens that USC completed some while finding a playmaker…Freshman WR Bryan Edwards.
Now let me stop here and say make absolutely no mistake, I am not overreacting to one game and you shouldn’t either. What USC fans should pay attention to is one particular play that shows Edwards can be the real deal. On a 3rd and long, Perry Orth lofted one up down the far sideline and it was overthrown. Edwards adjusted his route and in a one on one battle leaped up and brought it down. The drive led to no points, but it showed that USC can complete passes down the field. The next play..a 20 plus yard pass to Deebo Samuel.
Once USC did this, they followed up with an 85 yard drive for a TD…a drive that had multiple holes for AJ Turner to run through. Why were they there…the threat of a deep pass backed up the safeties.
Make no mistake, USC still has a playmaker problem. Orth showed once again his good and bad side..and let’s face facts for a second. This was Vanderbilt. BUT – USC needed this. The Gamecocks needed a confidence booster and they began the process of moving forward.
Here are some of my thoughts I wrote down during the game:
- AJ Turner has some play making ability in him. He really struggles in moving anyone once contact has been made, but he hits the hole very well.
- David Williams needs to be done. He just doesn’t have the ability to make plays and can’t even be a power back. No I’m not overreacting to one game…this is about 20 games of the same type of struggles.
- DJ Smith looked fantastic. He looks like he’s been coached up.
- Chaz Elder looks like Freshman Chaz Elder…and I know that sounds like a bad thing….but it’s not…it’s a good thing.
- The DL was what we thought they were…awesome. They got very tired in the 2nd half but really stepped up all first half and late in the 4th quarter.
- Griffen has finally put it all together.
- The first half penalties were ridiculous and a complete lack of focus. The 2nd half was much better.
- Orth looked like 2 different QBs. The 2nd half was the best he’s ever looked in my opinion.
- The OL was very hit and miss. They were also much better in the 2nd half.
- Bryan Edwards is for real and can be a huge boost to this team. He is an excellent route runner and adjusts to the ball very well.
- Jamari Smith…I’d like to say he had a bad night..but he has never had a good night. So I don’t know what that looks like for him.
- I was very surprised there wasn’t a package for Nunez to at least run the ball. USC struggled running most of the night until they started throwing it and holes opened up late. If he isn’t a WR, then he could still make an impact with a wildcat package.
- BAW had his best game. He was solid.
- USC fans have to be thrilled with how aggressive USC looked on Defense. It’s a welcomed site to see.
A win is a win. It’s Vandy..so don’t overreact. But it’s a good start. I picked USC to win by 4 and had USC going 5-7. I feel good about that pick. USC fans should feel good about the 2nd half performance.