Trick plays no treat for USC defense

Even after running double pass in fall camp to prepare defense, USC still allowed touchdown completion to Syracuse.

LOS ANGELES – As Syracuse wide receiver Alec Lemon pulled up to throw, USC cornerback Torin Harris knew there was only one thing he could do, even if it wasn't going to prevent Van Chew from catching a 28-yard touchdown.

"Find the ball and get to it as fast as possible," Harris said.

The Orange caught the Trojans defense off-guard with the double pass, not the first time this season they have been caught flat-footed by a trick play. Utah ran a reverse for a 51-yard gain the previous week.

Arizona State used a similar wide receiver pass on the first play of last year's 34-33 USC win, with Jamal Miles throwing to T.J. Simpson for 54 yards to set up a Sun Devils touchdown.

Harris was the defender caught out of position on that play as well.

"I'm more worried of them for sure now because it has happened," he said. "I expect Arizona State to come out and do it. Since it happened last year, I'm a lot more attentive to everything now."

USC head coach Lane Kiffin even went as far as installing that very play to test the defense in fall camp, with Brandon Carswell throwing the pass.

"Syracuse I'm sure copied that from Arizona State," Kiffin said. "It's unfortunate because just for our defense at the beginning of camp we ran that play knowing that someone was going to copy it and Carswell completed it against our defense. So we didn't learn from it. Unfortunately, it's been Torin both times.

"We got to learn from those mistakes and know those situations when you are in those fringe areas that people are going to take shots."

While the Trojans aren't the powerhouse of years past, opponents still put a special emphasis on beating them. Often that means reaching into the bag of tricks.

Linebacker Chris Galippo is used to that extra attention.

"The thing about playing at USC that you kind of got to get used to is that you prepare all week, you watch all this game film and go out to the game teams have packages just to beat SC and built for us and giving us completely different looks than they have shown against anyone else," he said. "We are going to prepare the best we can."

Galippo sees the use of gadget plays as something of a compliment, the only way to manufacture a big gain against the defense.

USC has shown major improvement on defense this season, allowing 16 points per game. Subtract the Utes' reverse and opponents are averaging 2.69 yards per carry.

"Anytime you have a really, really fast defense, offensively the best way to attack them is obviously misdirection," Galippo said.

Misdirection is a staple of the Arizona State spread offense and Galippo knows the defense will have to be prepared for anything and everything Saturday.

"Obviously they have a lot of spread stuff that they do now, air the ball out and do a lot of cool stuff on offense," he said. "We have got our hands full." Top Stories