Wednesday, September 13, 2006
USC Preview: Keys to the Game
*Nebraska's best chance to win this game is to run the football, controlling the clock and negating USC's speed and athleticism. I think USC would rather have Taylor hit a few big plays than have Nebraska rush for 200 or more yards.
*If Nebraska does get behind, will Callahan stay with the run? Nebraska would have lost the Alamo Bowl if Callahan hadn't gone back to Ross running the ball. I hope he doesn't give up on the run if USC gets a lead.
*If USC does start stacking the line and blitzing, Nebraska's best formation will be the trips set. Against a pressure defense, Nebraska should be able to get outside with that toss play or break a few big runs off the trap. More importantly, with USC in man coverage, those shallow crossing patterns will be available for Taylor.
*Callahan is probably anticipating zone. If USC start playing pressure defense, I hope Callahan will adapt and not continue to call 5 and 7-step drops as he did against Missouri and Oklahoma last season. It could get Taylor killed.
*Will Nebraska change of some of the tendencies USC is sure to have noticed or has Callahan been setting the Trojans up?
*Will Purify provide Nebraska with a true deep threat to counter press coverage? Is he ready for that so soon?
*With USC's speed on defense, will Nebraska try to run the ball with power-type running plays or will they attempt to use zone-blocking (which seems to be what Callahan favors).
*And, of course, will Coz:
A) Revert to his favored "off-man" coverage and allow USC's giant receivers to torture our smaller DB's for somewhere between 40 and 50 points?
B) Outsmart himself with some wacky (and ill-advised) defense as he did against Missouri last season?
C) Play mostly zone to protect his DB's while pressuring Booty into occasional mistakes with zone-blitzes? (My idea. )
*Will our coaches adapt their gameplan if it proves to be ineffective or if USC comes out with something unexpected? This is the one thing I haven't really seen this staff do yet.
*Finally, if Nebraska does lose...will we see a return of the subtle hints by some of the coaches that it was the players' fault?