Just Sayin' . . . Weekend Edition

USC fans can thank goodness for the Combine and baseball on what could have been a really tough weekend.

On a weekend most Trojan fans would prefer to mostly forget, at least there was this. The guys who went off "Combining" in Indy didn't let anyone, themselves especially, down.

We're Just Sayin' here.

*** The men's basketball team, after a courageous effort in Tempe playing without four guards -- one injured, three sent home -- lost a 10-point second-half lead and another game at the end to Arizona State, getting outscored 14-3 in the final couple of minutes to fall to 2-13 in the Pac-12. These guys deserve better than the end-game collapses that mark this long, lost season . . . Just Sayin'

*** The women's hoops team also had a chance to take down a ranked ASU team at Galen but lost in a couple of overtimes when they couldn't make a play at the defensive end and then to finish off a really bad day, the No. 3 USC men's volleyball team got smoked at No. 11 UCLA. Not a good day for "Fighting On." . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But there was the unbeaten USC baseball team, outlasting a rain delay of more than two hours to record its eighth straight win for the best start in 15 years, so we'll take that as a sign that the Trojans have some hope this spring . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But if we have to look at something that made us smile, it had to be the work of Leonard Williams & Co. moving on to to the NFL the way they did . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But it wasn't so much the measurables from Leonard that jumped off the screen on the NFL Channel, nor the 6-foot-5, 302-pound weigh-in numbers or even the more than decent 4.97 time in the 40 or the swift 1.72 in the 10-yard split. Or the way he flowed with that easy, athletic, yet powerful way, to the plays he was asked to make. It was something else . . . Just Sayin'.

*** With all the attention paid Leonard, who most now seem to think will go to Tennessee with the second overall pick, it was the way the real Leonard's good-guyness -- something we've all seen for his three years here -- came through loud and clear. The smiling competitor, the enthusiasm for competing, the encouraging of his D-line compatriots. It was all there and could not have been more obvious . . . Just Sayin'.

*** "Supremely gifted interior lineman" . . . "with length, athleticism and elite power" . . . "able to jolt offensive linemen with powerful and quick hands" . . . "extremely hard to redirect for offensive linemen once he gets going downhill" . . . "explosive hip snap to leverage blockers and is rarely moved from his gap" . . . "fires out with low pad level when playing the run and is difficult to submarine on short yardage" . . . "dangerous pass rusher from twist game, showing big closing burst" . . . "showed intriguing potential as a pass-rushing end in space" . . . "frame able to hold more weight and muscle" were just some of Leonard's evaluations on the NFL.com Web site . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Of Leonard, one NFC director of scouting said: "You can't over-think this one. It doesn't matter how raw he is because he's got freakish qualities that are rare for men his size . . . [has the] athleticism with the power to become a consistent Pro Bowler with a ceiling that goes even higher than that" . . . Just Sayin'.

*** NFL.com's Steve Mariucci described Leonard as a "scheme diverse" player who could play anywhere for anybody in any system which seems only fair since he's had to play for a sanctions-limited USC program that often seemed "scheme averse" in terms of freeing up BLW to make the kinds of plays he's capable of . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But as much as we're pleased at what BLW was able to do, we knew that was coming. It's the work of USC's other guys in Indy that's encouraging midway through the Combine, like Buck Allen showing up at 221 pounds and still running a 4.53 in the 40, the seventh-best time for a running back. Also like it that Buck told the LA Times he got to talk to a dozen teams in Indy. Cannot root for anyone more than Buck here . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Here's what the NFL.com's analysts had to say about Buck: "Workhorse back able to make plays late in the game and work out of the backfield to keep defenses honest. His relative elusiveness in space and ability to cut on a dime give him the ability to create yards where there are none, but his average vision and inability to finish off runs will keep him from getting some of the yards teams might expect. He's well-rounded enough to be a very good backup with middle-of-the-road starting potential" . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Have to believe Buck's low 11 reps in the 225-pound bench press more a holdover from a shoulder injury issue that really never was talked about through the season with Buck not giving in to it . . . Just Sayin'.

*** One who did well in the lifting was Trojan tight end Randall Telfer, another Trojan fan favorite, whose 20 reps had him No 5 among the tight ends in the only drill Randall, who checked in at 6-4 and 250 pounds, was able to do with his running coming on Pro Day. Imagining that Randall's interviews went even better than his bench press . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Another who did well when he got the chance before dislocating a finger was Nelson Agholor, running a 4.42 in the 40 that might have been as important as anything he could have done although he should have killed the interviews much as Randall surely did . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Checking in at 6-foot and 240 pounds, another favorite Trojan, Hayes Pullard, ran a just fair 4.78 in the 40 and was analyzed like this by NFL.com: "Has athleticism and instincts to play middle but might lack 'mean' . . . has tackle numbers, but hasn't had a sack in two years and has caused or recovered very few turnovers during that time . . . BOTTOM LINE athletic linebacker who falls into a habit of letting plays come to him rather than making things happen . . . has the athleticism to be a solid NFL player but has to find a scheme that can keep him clean or he might be just another linebacker" . . . which might have been what we were thinking of the way the USC defense used Hayes . . . Just Sayin'

*** Josh Shaw showed up at 6-0 and 201 pounds and did well in the bench press, going for a position-best 26 reps while getting good marks despite his well-publicized senior suspension. An NFC area scout is quoted: "I know about the issues he had this year, but I did plenty of background work on Shaw and I had no problem giving him a passing character grade when I turned in my report." But the NFL.com's BOTTOM LINE is mixed: "While Shaw played boundary corner, slot corner and safety at USC, concerns over his athleticism and speed could limit him to zone-cornerback status as a pro. Shaw seems to go along for the ride while on field rather than operate with a voracious appetite to make plays. He's not physical enough to play in the box, so he will likely have to be a Cover-2 cornerback or free safety as a pro." . . . Just Sayin'.

*** And finally, there's J.R. Tavai, at 6-2 and 249 pounds, the classic tweener. Maybe not quick enough with his 4.91 time in the 40 to cover tight ends and running backs but would need to get bigger to play with a hand down on the ground. Here's what the NFL.com folks had to say about him: "When Tavai hits the grass, he goes all out until the final whistle sounds. Limited athleticism could cause decline in production in the pros and medical concerns have some scouts lowering his draft grade. His energy, effort and enthusiasm from snap to snap are characteristics defensive coordinators will welcome at any stage of the draft." . . . So there's hope here for another USC fan favorite, even one so quiet we barely got to know him . . . Just Sayin'.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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