I was sweating through the first half I can tell you, Arkansas turnovers notwithstanding. Arkansas was plainly motivated, especially on defense, and the USC offense took a while to click. Overall though it was a good first showing.
Strengths: Booty played a nice blend of careful game management and big passes when needed. The O-line had some stupid minor penalties, but they were starting to open the gaps for the running game in the second half. The freshman running backs were looking promising. When Washington can keep his leg in good shape, he’s a heck of a runner. Patrick Turner looks ready, Steve Smith is ready, and a week off will probably do Wayne Jarrett some good: his natural catching is good but I think he needs more practice time. The defense is looking a lot better overall, and fast as anything.
Weaknesses: Not every team is going to fade down the stretch like Arkansas, and the speed of the defense could get them badly caught out if they bite on draw plays and the like. USC can’t take that long to warm up, either.
Overall, a very encouraging start, but not enough to make me sanguine about the season.
Other thoughts on the day: Cal seriously stank it up in Knoxville. Notre Dame may well have the attitude to go far this season inasmuch as they weren’t that good but they managed to win anyway. I haven’t had a chance to see the Oregon replays but even allowing for the fact that they played Stanford, that was a beat-down. Didn’t have a chance to see much of UCLA but they plainly weren’t challenged by Utah, and about the only replay I saw was an interception returned for a touchdown, which is a novelty. Texas looked verygood.
Miscelllany: Geriatric irritant Lou Holtz (consistent at least in picking against USC) and “maverick” Mark May might be enough to get me to stop watching ESPN non-game coverage. Don’t know what’s pushed me over the age after a couple of days but they can kiss my ass, I want them to get bumped for obnoxious blowhard Trev Alberts because… just because, dammit. Because why not recommend that other people lose their livelihood for bothering me; this is a blog, dammit.
Up next: I shall be interested to see how Nebraska is set up for USC after beating UAB and Nicholls State… should be interesting.
Filed under: USC football |