The temper round USC has mellowed some.
The Trojans handled a share of drama final week when Coach Clay Helton took over play-calling duties for offensive coordinator Tee Martin and fired offensive line coach Neil Callaway. Freshman JT Daniels additionally returned as the beginning quarterback after lacking a recreation with a concussion. The six-day stretch finally ended with a 17-point victory at Oregon State, snapping a two-game dropping streak and placing the Trojans again in the jumbled Pac-12 South Division race.
On the heels of the stabilizing win, USC hosts Cal for its homecoming recreation Saturday night time, the first of the remaining two remaining convention video games, previous the crosstown rivalry recreation with UCLA on Nov. 17 at the Rose Bowl.
This week’s mailbag touches on the aftermath of final week, the Pac-12 South race, plus a bonus query on USC’s basketball staff, which opened its season Tuesday night time with an 83-62 win over Robert Morris.
As all the time, you possibly can submit questions on Twitter @joeyrkaufman or by e-mail to [email protected] Let’s start.
What are the odds USC runs the PAC12 table together with Oregon?
— Stuart Hoffman (@drstuarthoffman) November 6, 2018
Final week, USC’s season seemed prefer it was headed from disappointing to disastrous, as the Trojans have been getting into the remaining month of the season with no profitable document for the first time in 17 years.
As an alternative, they bounced again with a win and the prime of the Pac-12 South turned messy. Though the previous two months have proved any outlook for the Trojans can change in an occasion, they do have a transparent path towards returning to the convention title recreation, the place a win would ship them to the Rose Bowl for New Yr’s Day.
So what are the odds?
ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index metric provides USC a 5.Three % probability of profitable the Pac-12. There are 4 groups with higher odds, together with two from the Pac-12 South: Washington (37.four %), Utah (25.2 %), Washington State (22.Three %) and Arizona State (9.1 %).
For starters, the Trojans possible have to win their remaining two convention video games towards Cal and UCLA in order to complete with a 6-Three convention report. FPI provides them a 44.9 % of sweeping the Golden Bears and Bruins. I feel each video games might be robust. Cal has the greatest cross protection in the convention and no rivalry recreation is straightforward.
USC additionally wants Arizona State and Utah, who’ve three convention losses, to stumble once more.
Arizona State has three remaining video games: UCLA, Oregon and Arizona. Utah should face Oregon and Colorado.
USC must root for the Geese, who appear most certainly to knock off the Solar Devils and Utes.
FPI provides Oregon solely a 14 % of pulling off wins in each video games, at Utah on Saturday and towards Arizona State on Nov. 17. The Civil Warfare towards Oregon State has no bearing on USC’s South Division hopes, so the Geese don’t technically have to win out. They only have to win these two video games.
Utah is a Three-point favourite over Oregon this weekend in Salt Lake Metropolis.
I don’t see it as doubtless that USC wins its subsequent two video games and will get the requisite wins from Oregon, however it’s nonetheless affordable. 4 steps are wanted.
What are we going to do for DB depth this yr and subsequent?
— Taylor Corr (@USCorr) November 5, 2018
In an indication of the Trojans’ restricted depth in the secondary, freshman linebacker Raymond Scott was lined up with the cornerbacks throughout 1-on-1 drills in follow Tuesday. They only wanted some our bodies to match up towards extensive receivers.
Because it stands this week, right here’s the depth chart at cornerback for Cal: Iman Marshall, Isaiah Langley and Jonathan Lockett, the nickel nook.
Marshall is questionable due to an ankle sprain, and the most viable choices to exchange him towards the Golden Bears if he can’t play are Olaijah Griffin, who’s coming back from a shoulder damage, and Dominic Davis, a transformed operating again. The Trojans even have the choice of utilizing their nickel package deal on a much less frequent foundation, sliding Lockett to certainly one of the two cornerback spots.
The beginning safeties this week are Ajene Harris, moved over from nickel nook, and Marvell Inform. C.J. Pollard, the solely remaining scholarship security, backs them up.
As for subsequent season, the depth appears fairly slim, which is a matter in defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s scheme, which frequently strains up 5 defensive backs in a nickel package deal.
The possible candidates to start out at cornerback are Griffin and Greg Johnson, whereas Talanoa Hufanga and Isaiah Pola-Mao are the prime candidates for the security spots, although each gamers shall be coming off accidents, Hufanga coping with a damaged collarbone presently, and Pola-Mao coming back from shoulder damage. Pollard and freshman Chase Williams are the solely different returning scholarship safeties.
In the upcoming recruiting class, the Trojans have solely two dedicated defensive backs, together with Max Williams, a cornerback from Serra Excessive in Gardena, and Trey Davis, a cornerback from Federal Approach, Wash. They’ll have to convey in some extra freshmen and perhaps a junior-college or graduate switch for depth.
Why hasn’t USC used Pie or Dom Davis to assist with the depleted secondary?? Or some other receivers that would probably assist
— ._. (@austen_caronia) November 7, 2018
Nicely, they could have to make use of Davis this week if Marshall can’t return and Griffin is restricted. As for Keyshawn Younger, they’ve in all probability shuffled him between broad receiver and the secondary sufficient in his profession.
Ought to USC Run the raid offense since they’ve so many good extensive receivers
— MISERABLE DETRIOT LIONS FAN (@Lordofgap) November 6, 2018
Howdy, Depressing Detroit Lions Fan. Have you ever met Depressing USC Fan? I’m conscious of the feeling amongst some Trojans followers that the offense ought to transfer towards a extra pass-happy recreation plan. Their operating recreation has not often labored outdoors of wins over Arizona and Oregon State. They rank 62nd in the nation in passing offense versus 99th in dashing offense. They appear to have extra potential NFL broad receivers than potential NFL offensive linemen. May they be higher off airing it out extra? Perhaps on a game-by-game foundation, however an “Air Raid” doesn’t make a lot sense as a long-term transfer for the program. They recruit blue-chip gamers at about each place on offense, so I don’t see why they need to surrender on their operating recreation altogether. Finally, due to how they construct their roster, they’re nonetheless greatest off utilizing a standard pro-style offense or a modern-day NFL unfold offense.
Any guess on AVT enjoying time over Voorhees? Toa to G? Or some other OL shakeups?
— Praxis (@fullofnopes) November 7, 2018
There has not been vital change relating to the grouping of the beginning offensive linemen since Tim Drevno, together with graduate assistant Mike Goff, started teaching the group in the previous week. I feel this may’ve been a higher risk had the change been made midseason, however with solely a month left, they’ve stored established order and principally tried to shore up a couple of areas. Gamers and coaches talked about smaller changes, resembling gaining higher readability in assignments (i.e. who individuals are supposed to dam) and little modifications in blocking methods. I don’t anticipate a starter to be supplanted, barring damage, nor Toa Lobendahn to maneuver from middle.
Has the new offensive line coach been capable of clear up the thriller of the errant middle snaps?
— Tom T (@TTolman) November 6, 2018
It didn’t look that approach at Oregon State. To be trustworthy, I want there was an excellent reply to this. The snapping points date to preseason coaching camp in August, and if there was an apparent answer, it appears Lobendahn would’ve discovered it by now. They’ve talked about making minor modifications together with his snapping method, however it appears to me like free-throw capturing. Some guys simply shoot a better proportion than others.
How do you anticipate USC to do in basketball? Workforce has depth and key gamers coming again & a bit harder OOC schedule. Do you assume Jonah Mathews can take his recreation to an all P12 degree caliber?
— Milo S. (@r_meezy) November 6, 2018
I anticipate the Trojans to be in the combine for an additional 20-win season, a benchmark they’ve hit in every of the previous three seasons, although the subsequent 4 months might current extra challenges to get there.
A part of this can hinge on whether or not Bennie Boatwright can go a full season with no knee damage. Boatwright didn’t play in the opener towards Robert Morris as he recovers from surgical procedure, although he might return quickly and is taken into account day-to-day. With the losses of guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart, in addition to Chimezie Metu, they want dependable scorers like Boatwright.
Extra depth is good, however you want some constant bucket-getters. Jonah Mathews is an alternative choice, and coaches assume the junior guard can increase his scoring common nearer to 15 factors per recreation this season after averaging 9.Three factors final season. Shaqquan Aaron stepped up with 20 factors in the season opener and freshman Kevin Porter Jr. had his moments with 15 factors. Along with discovering constant scorers, they’ll additionally have to shore up the inside protection with few front-court choices.
They need to once more be on the NCAA Event bubble, and a harder nonconference schedule solely helps towards that aim, with video games towards a minimum of two ranked groups (No. 7 Nevada and No. 20 TCU) providing possibilities to steal high quality wins. Each video games are in Los Angeles, with the matchup towards the Horned Frogs at Staples Middle as a impartial website recreation.
As was the case final season, the choice committee isn’t more likely to penalize groups for losses to main convention foes, so there’s incentive to play these video games. School basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy projected a 19-11 regular-season report for the Trojans after they went 21-10 final season. This feels about proper, barring accidents. And though the sort of season could be comparable so far as wins versus losses, I might anticipate there can be a greater feeling round the group. In contrast to final season, they aren’t dealing with the similar lofty preseason expectations. Getting again to the event can be a hit.