Shotgun Spratling | USCfootball.com

Charts and notes of USC player snap participation in the Arizona State game

Did USC sub as much on defense as it seemed? Chris Hawkins didn't start, but played more than Marvell Tell and the Trojans were very, very good in the pistol.

Couple of quick notes to go with the USC-Arizona State participation breakdown chart:

- Players that were out with injuries: Zach Banner, Dominic Davis, Velus Jones Jr., Kevin Scott, Noah Jefferson, Jamel Cook, John Plattenburg, Connor Russow, Richie Wenzel, Vavae Malepeai, Toa Lobendahn.

- Players that did not finish the 41-20 victory over the Sun Devils: Jabari Ruffin.

- Players that returned from injury: Chuma Edoga, Jack Jones.

- Twenty-one players participated in a season-high number of plays: John Houston Jr., Michael Pittmann, Steven Mitchell Jr. (tied), Jalen Greene (tied), Sam Darnold, Isaiah Langley, Isaac Whitney, Keyshawn Young, Quinton Powell, Justin Davis, James Toland IV, Ykili Ross, Matt Boermeester, Wyatt Schmidt, Jordan Austin, Jordan Iosefa, Jordan Simmons, Chuma Edoga, Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Connor Murphy, Jacob Daniel.

- Twelve of those players also set career highs in snap count: John Houston Jr., Michael Pittman, Sam Darnold, Keyshawn Young, Ykili Ross, Matt Boermeester, Wyatt Schmidt, Jordan Austin, Jordan Iosefa, Jordan Simmons, Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Connor Murphy.

- USC used 59 players in the game with snap counts ranging from 73 total snaps for three offensive linemen to Jabari Ruffin one snap on the opening kickoff — on which he suffered a concussion and did not return.

Simmons Starts

Offensive lineman Jordan Simmons has had a tumultuous college football career that has been plagued by nagging knee injuries. It’s been unfortunate to see the former five-star offensive guard struggling to get back on the field, but he’s been able to stay healthy so far this year. On Saturday, that translated into his first career start. 

With Zach Banner’s ankle not responding well enough in pregame warmups and Chuma Edoga not 100 percent after suffering from bronchitis and the flu, it was Simmons that got the nod at right tackle. Simmons and Edoga split time with Simmons getting one more snap at right tackle in the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, Simmons got all the reps while Edoga flipped over to the left tackle spot for USC’s final two drives.

The offense was more productive with the natural tackle, Edoga, on the field. Through the first three quarters, the offense averaged 7.5 yards per play when Edoga was in the game and 4.6 when Simmons was at right tackle. After a lackluster offensive fourth quarter that included a pair of three-and-out drives with the backup interior linemen in with Banner’s replacements on both sides, Simmons’ overall ypp numbers dipped to 4.3 while Edoga's slid to 6.8 yards per play.

Enough Subs?

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast used more players during the competitive portion of this game than he has the rest of the season, but he still didn’t sub a ton as the post-game narrative might have seemed. Pendergast did use 26 defensive players, including 19 in the first half, but many of those subs were minimal. 

Olajuwon Tucker, Connor Murphy and Christian Rector all participated in two plays in the first half. Matt Lopes subbed in for one play. Three of the other subs were package subs with Quinton Powell and Josh Fatu coming in on third-and-long and Malik Dorton or Fatu subbing in as the third defender in the rare occasion USC used its base package (on six plays, only two of which came in the first half). Dorton and Fatu did also sub in as defensive line replacements, but Chris Hawkins was the only other defender to sub in regularly prior to the game being a blowout.

Maybe a two-play break is plenty enough? That’s more than edge rushers Uchenna Nwosu and Porter Gustin have really had previously in competitive games this season.

In the second half, the substitutions were more liberal with Tucker and Murphy getting a third quarter series, Isaiah Langley taking over for Iman Marshall on one third quarter drive and then all of the second team members getting in the game in the fourth quarter.

Hawkins Hawks PT 

Chris Hawkins was demoted before the Utah game with Leon McQuay III taking over the starting safety role and Jonathan Lockett rolling into the slot nickel spot that McQuay had been in. But against Arizona State, Hawkins was all over the field. He had three tackles, including USC’s first sack since the second week of the season. He also added a pass breakup.

Hawkins and sophomore Marvell Tell III switched in and out of the game often in the first half. They made 13 in-drive substitutions for each other, including eight in the first half. They even played one play together with McQuay out of the game. While Tell was the starter, Hawkins ended up playing nearly 20 more plays. Part of that was Hawkins playing with the rest of the backups in the fourth quarter, but he also participated in more first half plays than Tell (24:20).

With Hawkins in the game, the defense allowed just 3.6 yards per play compared to 5.6 ypp during Tell’s 26 defensive snaps. But the numbers are even more telling when Hawkins played with the first-team defense. Prior to the fourth quarter when the backups were in, Arizona State managed just 37 yards on the 30 plays that Hawkins participated or 1.2 ypp!

Best Production

Looking at the yards per play production, Hawkins would have had the best numbers if he had sat out the fourth quarter like all the starters did. But since he was in the game then, the defense was at its stingiest when Rasheem Green was on the field. During the 43 plays that Green played, the Sun Devils had 91 total yards (2.1 ypp). In comparison, they had nearly that total in just nine plays when third string nose tackle Jacob Daniel was on the field.

On the other side of the ball, USC was at its best when Tyler Petite was on the field, averaging 9.3 ypp during his 13 plays. The Trojans also did well when Justin Davis and Darreus Rogers were involved, averaging 7.0 ypp for both. 

Davis was the most productive back with the ball in his hands, rushing for 123 yards on his 14 carries, and the team was much more productive when he was on the field. The offense averaged 4.2 ypp when Ronald Jones II was on the field and just 2.4 when Aca’Cedric Ware was in the game. That may be why Davis set a season high with 43 total snaps despite barely playing in the fourth quarter.

Tight End Triangle

The enigma of Tyler Petite’s playing time continues. After having a breakout game against Stanford and playing in 61 combined offensive snaps in Weeks 2-3, Petite has only played 21 since. He added to his tight end receiving lead with a 27-yard grab while starter Taylor McNamara and Daniel Imatorbhebhe have combined for five catches and 43 yards on the season. Petite has seven catches for 135 yards.

McNamara has been dinged up and missed some time with a sore back this week. If he is unable to go against Colorado, it will be interesting to see who gets the start and how much Petite and Imatorbhebhe would rotate. Imatorbhebhe has started twice this season as the second tight end in a two-tight-end formation. He also has played more snaps than Petite in each of the last two games while McNamara has been playing more snaps than both his backups combined. 

Missing Special Teams Players

Once again, USC forgot how to count to 11. The Trojans had to burn their first timeout because they only had 10 players on the field for a punt return. After the eight-man Stanford blunder, you’d think someone would be in charge of counting the players. 

Jabari Ruffin has been on the punt return before, but he was taken off the unit last week at Utah and the Trojans managed to have 11 players on the field for Arizona State’s first punt attempt, so his injury can't be used as an excuse either. 

Top Play Counts

Arizona State actually ran more plays than USC did on Saturday, besting the Trojans by one. But three USC offensive linemen earned top play count honors as Damien Mama, Viane Talamaivao and Chad Wheeler each played 73 total snaps. Mama played 10 less offensive snaps than Talamaivao and Wheeler with Chris Brown subbing in for him earlier than the other backups entered. But Mama made up for it on special teams. His 20 special teams snaps were second on the team behind John Houston Jr.’s 22. 

Of the defensive players, Adoree’ Jackson led the team with 70 total snaps, including a team-high 55 on defense. He is the only player to not come off the field during the first three quarters. Iman Marshall and Leon McQuay III played all but two defensive snaps in the first three quarters while Michael Hutchings, Uchenna Nwosu and Porter Gustin each got five or less snaps off in the same time frame.

No Khaliel? No Clayton?

Late in the game, USC emptied the bench on the offensive side. Max Browne led the offense with Aca’Cedric Ware doing the heavy lifting in the backfield. Blocking for Ware were Jordan Simmons, Chuma Edoga and three backup interior linemen: Jordan Austin, Chris Brown and Cole Smith.

If the second offensive line was going to be in the game, why was Khaliel Rodgers still on the bench? Rodgers was moved back to the offensive line to provide depth, so it would seem important to get him some game action in a blowout when possible.

And how about Clayton Johnston?

A young tackle prospect could use all the extra game action he could get. Instead, Johnston was a healthy DNP against Arizona State. Johnston had been one of the blockers for field goal and extra point attempts for the previous two games, but was taken off those special team units. We saw Johnston having to do some punishment conditioning after practice last Wednesday, so maybe that explains his game absence?

Pitt is First

USC has a deep receiving corps this season. So deep that the Trojans brought in five highly touted receivers and four are expected to redshirt, including five-star La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat product Tyler Vaughns. The only freshman playing is former five-star Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver Michael Pittman and his primary responsibilities are on special teams. 

But against Arizona State, Pittman was the first outside receiver off the bench. He had a key block to help spring Justin Davis on his long 49-yard carry on USC’s first scoring drive. He got a lot of run in the fourth quarter after the game was already in hand, but he also participated in nine snaps in the first three quarters and got his first career reception, snagging a 10 yard pass to set up the Trojans’ final touchdown on the next play. He added another catch in the fourth quarter.

Pittman had only played five offensive snaps in the first four games, but participated in 21 snaps and a career-high 40 overall plays, which could be a sign that he is going to get more playing time at receiver going forward. To complement that theory, De’Quan Hampton and Isaac Whitney played only two plays each against Utah and combined for just four snaps in the first half of the Arizona State game — all by Whitney.

Powerful Pistol

The Trojans used more of the pistol formation than they have in the past and it was a huge success. They used the formation 17 times, gaining an average of 9.24 yards per play. But six of those pistol plays came on the final two drives with Max Browne handing off to Aca’Cedric Ware for short gains. 

Fittingly, the pistol formation was explosive with gunslinger Sam Darnold in the game, gaining 13.36 ypp. USC ran the ball eight times for 70 yards (8.75 ypc) out of the formation. The three times they threw it all ended with double-digit gains, including the 40-yard flea flicker pass to Deontay Burnett and Tyler Petite’s 27-yard reception.

USC was also very successful out of the shotgun, averaging 7.30 yards per play. It ran the ball 17 times out of shotgun for 4.41 yards per play and passed 30 times for 268 yards (8.93 ypp). The Trojans ran five plays under center, including a spike to stop the clock on their drive before halftime. Excluding that play, they passed twice for 21 yards and ran twice for two yards.

Get in Formation

Speaking of formations, we've got a formation breakdown of what sets USC used and how well the Trojans performed in each formation. They varied their formations with the inclusion of a couple of plays late using Reuben Peters in an H-back spot, but again relied heavily on their base three-receiver set, using it for 37 of the 69 offensive snaps. The formation was successful and balanced averaging seven yards per play on 19 rushes and 6.5 ypp on 18 passes.

But USC was at its best against the Sun Devils when it split out its tight end in the same formation. The Trojans ran nine plays with three receivers and the tight end split out. They averaged 14.78 yards per play, including 20.33 ypp on six dropbacks. They also chose to once split out the tight end and running back, creating an empty backfield. That play was designed to be a quarterback draw, but after seeing nothing open, Sam Darnold improvised and turned it into a short pass that Deontay Burnett gained 15 yards on.

Before halftime, USC ran five plays in its hurry-up offense to get into field goal range. The entire drive, along with two other plays earlier in the game, they used their four-wide receiver set with Burnett and Steven Mitchell Jr. both in the game at slot positions. The Trojans gained 64 yards on the seven plays — all of which were pass plays.

In two tight end sets, the Trojans gained 5.67 yards per snap with four pass plays going for 48 yards. However, five run attempts with the extra blocker netted just three total yards. 

  • Three receivers, one tight end, one running back: 37 plays, 250 yards (6.8 ypp)
  • Three receivers, one tight end split out, one running back: 9 plays, 133 yards, (14.8 ypp)
  • Two receivers, two tight ends, one running back: 9 plays, 51 yards (5.7 ypp)
  • Four receivers, one running back: 7 plays, 64 yards (9.1 ypp)
  • Two receivers, one tight end, one running back, one H-back: 2 plays, 4 yards (2.0 ypp)
  • Three receivers, two running backs: 2 plays, 1 yard (0.5 ypp)
  • Three receivers, one tight end split out, one running back split out: 1 play, 15 yards
  • Three receivers, one running back, one H-back: 1 play, 4 yards
  • Two receivers, one tight end, two backs: 1 play, 1 yard

USC vs. Arizona State Participation Chart

Off/Def SnapsSTTotal Plays
1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Total
1 - Darreus Rogers 12 20 6 38 4 42
1 - Jack Jones 3 3 3
2 - Adoree' Jackson 21 22 12 55 15 70
4 - Max Browne 8 8 8
4 - Chris Hawkins 10 14 6 15 45 8 53
6 - Michael Pittman 2 7 12 21 19 40
7 - Steven Mitchell Jr. 11 11 10 32 4 36
7 - Marvell Tell III 11 9 6 26 6 32
8 - Iman Marshall 21 22 10 53 4 57
9 - JuJu Smith-Schuster 12 18 6 36 5 41
10 - Jalen Greene 2 2 8 5 17 1 18
10 - John Houston Jr. 2 12 14 22 36
13 - De'Quan Hampton 6 11 17 17
14 - Sam Darnold 14 22 19 6 61 61
14 - Isaiah Langley 2 12 14 15 29
15 - Isaac Whitney 4 6 5 15 15
16 - Dominic Davis 0 DNP
17 - Keyshawn Young 0 15 15
18 - Quinton Powell 5 3 3 3 14 15 29
19 - Michael Hutchings 21 22 9 52 3 55
22 - Justin Davis 13 15 13 1 42 1 43
22 - Leon McQuay III 20 21 12 53 13 66
23 - Jonathan Lockett 19 22 8 49 49
25 - Ronald Jones II 1 7 5 2 15 15
26 - James Toland IV 0 8 8
27 - Ajene Harris 15 15 15
28 - Aca'Cedric Ware 1 1 12 14 8 22
30 - Ykili Ross 15 15 8 23
34 - Olajuwon Tucker 2 3 15 20 11 31
35 - Cameron Smith 16 19 7 42 4 46
36 - Chris Tilbey 0 3 3
37 - Matt Lopes 1 3 15 19 19
39 - Matt Boermeester 0 18 18
40 - Jabari Ruffin 0 1 1
42 - Uchenna Nwosu 21 20 9 50 6 56
44 - Malik Dorton 6 2 5 6 19 19
45 - Porter Gustin 21 20 10 51 3 54
46 - Wyatt Schmidt 0 10 10
47 - Reuben Peters 1 3 4 11 15
48 - Taylor McNamara 10 13 11 3 37 15 52
50 - Toa Lobendahn 0 DNP
51 - Damien Mama 14 22 17 53 20 73
56 - Jordan Austin 6 6 10 16
56 - Jordan Iosefa 3 15 18 19 37
60 - Viane Talamaivao 14 22 19 8 63 10 73
62 - Khaliel Rodgers 0 DNP
64 - Richie Wenzel 0 DNP
66 - Cole Smith 6 6 6
68 - Jordan Simmons 6 12 10 14 42 13 55
70 - Chuma Edoga 8 10 9 6 33 3 36
72 - Chad Wheeler 14 22 19 8 63 10 73
73 - Zach Banner 0 DNP
74 - Nico Falah 14 22 19 8 63 63
76 - Clayton Johnston 0 DNP
77 - Chris Brown 2 14 16 10 26
80 - Deontay Burnett 3 14 7 2 26 26
82 - Tyler Petite 3 5 5 13 1 14
88 - Daniel Imatorbhebhe 4 1 3 9 17 12 29
89 - Christian Rector 2 9 11 11
90 - Connor Murphy 2 2 15 19 16 35
91 - Noah Jefferson 0 DNP
92 - Jacob Daniel 9 9 9
92 - Zach Smith 0 13 13
94 - Rasheem Green 15 17 11 43 3 46
96 - Stevie Tu'ikolovatu 15 16 9 40 40
98 - Josh Fatu 6 5 3 6 20 20

Here's also a tally of the snap counts for all five games so far this season starting with offensive/defensive snaps followed by a chart of each players' total snaps for the season thus far:

Off/Def Snaps
Ala UtSt Stan Utah ASU Season
1 - Darreus Rogers 47 60 57 57 38 259
1 - Jack Jones 6 8 0 0 3 17
2 - Adoree' Jackson 54 42 50 76 55 277
4 - Max Browne 49 58 51 - 8 166
4 - Chris Hawkins 57 62 49 15 45 228
6 - Michael Pittman 1 3 0 1 21 26
7 - Steven Mitchell Jr. 31 33 33 33 32 162
7 - Marvell Tell III 55 28 62 66 26 237
8 - Iman Marshall 54 53 44 73 53 277
9 - JuJu Smith-Schuster 50 59 50 50 36 245
10 - Jalen Greene 11 18 7 4 17 57
10 - John Houston Jr. 0 0 13 0 14 27
13 - De'Quan Hampton 15 19 10 2 17 63
14 - Sam Darnold 17 23 10 59 61 170
14 - Isaiah Langley 0 3 0 0 14 17
15 - Isaac Whitney 8 2 2 2 15 29
16 - Dominic Davis 4 6 1 - - 11
17 - Keyshawn Young - 0 0 0 0 0
18 - Quinton Powell 6 3 0 7 14 30
19 - Michael Hutchings 57 62 62 81 52 314
22 - Justin Davis 36 42 33 37 42 190
22 - Leon McQuay III 38 45 34 81 53 251
23 - Jonathan Lockett 6 15 5 69 49 144
25 - Ronald Jones II 22 10 24 15 15 86
26 - James Toland IV 1 - - - 0 1
27 - Ajene Harris 7 15 5 14 15 56
28 - Aca'Cedric Ware 8 23 2 7 14 54
30 - Ykili Ross 6 3 0 0 15 24
34 - Olajuwon Tucker 6 3 0 0 20 29
35 - Cameron Smith 57 62 57 74 42 292
36 - Chris Tilbey 0 0 0 0 0 0
37 - Matt Lopes 8 37 - 0 19 64
39 - Matt Boermeester 0 0 0 0 0 0
40 - Jabari Ruffin 0 0 0 0 0 0
42 - Uchenna Nwosu 56 62 62 81 50 311
44 - Malik Dorton 22 28 23 28 19 120
45 - Porter Gustin 63 54 62 81 51 311
46 - Wyatt Schmidt 0 0 0 0 0 0
47 - Reuben Peters 0 4 0 0 4 8
48 - Taylor McNamara 47 23 25 40 37 172
50 - Toa Lobendahn 55 - - - - 55
51 - Damien Mama 39 43 61 59 53 255
56 - Jordan Austin - 11 - - 6 17
56 - Jordan Iosefa 0 3 13 0 18 34
60 - Viane Talamaivao 55 67 61 59 63 305
62 - Khaliel Rodgers 15 - - - - 15
64 - Richie Wenzel - 2 - - - 2
66 - Cole Smith - 11 - - 6 17
68 - Jordan Simmons 11 12 0 0 42 65
70 - Chuma Edoga 30 4 - - 33 67
72 - Chad Wheeler 36 66 61 59 63 285
73 - Zach Banner 66 70 61 59 - 256
74 - Nico Falah 11 70 61 59 63 264
76 - Clayton Johnston 0 11 0 0 - 11
77 - Chris Brown 27 38 0 0 16 81
80 - Deontay Burnett 31 28 25 21 26 131
82 - Tyler Petite 8 38 23 8 13 90
88 - Daniel Imatorbhebhe 4 31 6 11 17 69
89 - Christian Rector 0 3 0 - 11 14
90 - Connor Murphy 0 3 0 0 19 22
91 - Noah Jefferson 21 - - - - 21
92 - Jacob Daniel 1 2 - 7 9 19
92 - Zach Smith 0 0 0 0 0 0
94 - Rasheem Green 44 47 58 64 43 256
96 - Stevie Tu'ikolovatu 48 37 52 65 40 242
98 - Josh Fatu 8 26 32 9 20 95

Season totals including special teams:

Total Snaps
Ala UtSt Stan Utah ASU Season
1 - Darreus Rogers 52 62 63 62 42 281
1 - Jack Jones 23 23 11 5 3 65
2 - Adoree' Jackson 65 49 58 89 70 331
4 - Max Browne 49 58 51 - 8 166
4 - Chris Hawkins 57 62 49 21 53 242
6 - Michael Pittman 24 18 10 12 40 104
7 - Steven Mitchell Jr. 31 33 33 36 36 169
7 - Marvell Tell III 67 29 67 72 32 267
8 - Iman Marshall 73 57 54 78 57 319
9 - JuJu Smith-Schuster 55 61 56 56 41 269
10 - Jalen Greene 11 18 7 4 18 58
10 - John Houston Jr. 14 15 24 16 36 105
13 - De'Quan Hampton 15 19 10 2 17 63
14 - Sam Darnold 17 23 10 59 61 170
14 - Isaiah Langley 0 24 5 9 29 67
15 - Isaac Whitney 8 2 2 2 15 29
16 - Dominic Davis 4 6 1 - - 11
17 - Keyshawn Young - 7 2 8 15 32
18 - Quinton Powell 14 16 5 16 29 80
19 - Michael Hutchings 59 62 62 86 55 324
22 - Justin Davis 38 42 33 37 43 193
22 - Leon McQuay III 66 62 49 90 66 333
23 - Jonathan Lockett 6 15 5 69 49 144
25 - Ronald Jones II 22 10 24 15 15 86
26 - James Toland IV 4 - - - 8 12
27 - Ajene Harris 23 17 10 20 15 85
28 - Aca'Cedric Ware 19 30 4 10 22 85
30 - Ykili Ross 14 12 7 6 23 62
34 - Olajuwon Tucker 15 5 6 6 31 63
35 - Cameron Smith 65 64 62 79 46 316
36 - Chris Tilbey 12 2 5 1 3 23
37 - Matt Lopes 8 37 - 3 19 67
39 - Matt Boermeester 5 15 5 11 18 54
40 - Jabari Ruffin 9 8 16 6 1 40
42 - Uchenna Nwosu 76 64 71 87 56 354
44 - Malik Dorton 23 28 23 28 19 121
45 - Porter Gustin 78 56 67 82 54 337
46 - Wyatt Schmidt 2 - 2 5 10 19
47 - Reuben Peters 17 15 8 9 15 64
48 - Taylor McNamara 70 33 33 51 52 239
50 - Toa Lobendahn 55 - - - - 55
51 - Damien Mama 70 57 79 76 73 355
56 - Jordan Austin 11 - - 16 27
56 - Jordan Iosefa 23 20 24 15 37 119
60 - Viane Talamaivao 57 75 63 64 73 332
62 - Khaliel Rodgers 15 - - - - 15
64 - Richie Wenzel - 2 - - - 2
66 - Cole Smith - 11 - - 6 17
68 - Jordan Simmons 13 22 7 6 55 103
70 - Chuma Edoga 30 4 - - 36 70
72 - Chad Wheeler 36 66 61 59 73 295
73 - Zach Banner 76 80 68 69 - 293
74 - Nico Falah 13 78 61 59 63 274
76 - Clayton Johnston - 11 2 5 - 18
77 - Chris Brown 29 46 2 5 26 108
80 - Deontay Burnett 32 29 25 21 26 133
82 - Tyler Petite 8 38 23 8 14 91
88 - Daniel Imatorbhebhe 10 25 6 17 29 87
89 - Christian Rector 19 7 9 - 11 46
90 - Connor Murphy 10 13 7 11 35 76
91 - Noah Jefferson 21 - - - - 21
92 - Jacob Daniel 1 2 - 7 9 19
92 - Zach Smith 14 10 7 6 13 50
94 - Rasheem Green 44 47 58 69 46 264
96 - Stevie Tu'ikolovatu 48 37 52 65 40 242
98 - Josh Fatu 8 26 32 9 20 95
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