(6) USC heads to Eugene and will attempt to slow down the (5) Oregon offense
Don James' Blog: (6) USC at (5) Oregon

By Don James
October 24, 2007


I attended the Oregon-Washington game over the weekend, and I am really impressed with the way that the Ducks' offense performed. The Huskies hung with them for a while (the game was tied 31-31 early in the 4th quarter), but Oregon was able to outlast the onslaught. They continued their climb up the Master Coaches Poll as we moved Oregon to No. 5 this week.

Washington has one of the great young quarterbacks in the country in Jake Locker. He's like a linebacker at 6'3", 220 pounds and he can run a 4.40 forty. Jake's starting to throw the ball a little better and is really improving his ability to throw the ball on the run. He is a phenom and is as good as anyt player that Washington has had in years. The team is a bit young, unfortunately, but as they gain more experience, Locker and his supporting cast will improve.

Oregon moves the ball all the time, and they gained 661 yards against the Huskies on offense. That's something they will not be able to do against the SC defense, but even so, I think Dennis Dixon will give the Trojans fits. Their offense is incredible and has become as explosive as West Virginia's attack. Washington's linebackers didn't know where the ball was...it's like their running the Wing-T. Stewart, a 230-pound back who's leading the league in rushing comes out of one side running the ball and Dixon comes out the other and runs it just as well. As a coach, you really wouldn't know where to start in trying to defend them.

This week, SC's defense will be far superior to the Huskies, so the Ducks' ground attack will be challenged and I think SC has the potential to hang with Oregon with the athletes they have on that side of the ball. The injuries to the SC linebackers may turn out be the difference in the game, though. Because if you want to beat Oregon, you must really slow down that offense.

SC's offense has been a very interesting story to me this year. Their top two receivers are ranked 6th and 7th in the Pac-10 in receiving, but they don't seem to be making the same plays that they have in the recent past with players like Reggie Bush, Dwayne Jarrett and others. They are as good-looking as they have ever been in uniform with the recruits and athletes that they have, but something seems to have changed. Part of the problem may be that their quarterback play hasn't been spectacular this season. It appears that Sanchez will be given the starting nod in the game, and he should have some confidence coming off of a solid performance against Notre Dame.

This should be a fantastic game featuring the No. 5 and 6 teams in the Master Coaches Poll. Look for a lot of offense and for Oregon's spread to be too much for the Trojans.



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