Wednesday, September 13, 2006

USC Preview: Keys to the Game

Dflex writes:
*What might USC do against Nebraska's offense? In a word: blitz. They usually run Tampa 2, but that would seem to play into Nebraska's hands to some degree. I'm afraid USC will stack the line of scrimmage, try to stuff the running game, and make Taylor beat them over the top while trying to force mistakes. While completing over 70% this season, Taylor has proven he's accurate when not pressured. I don't see why USC won't test Nebraska's offensive line with pressure and limit Taylor's time in the pocket.

*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?

Posted by Dflex @ Wednesday, September 13, 2006 ||

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