Petros' Washington review

You don't have to think back too far to remember a time when going up to Washington struck fear in even the toughest football players in the Pac-10. Husky fans with dog masks on, a stadium that looked like people would fall out of the clouds onto you while you were in the huddle, inclement weather, an angry defense, all these were things you could expect when you saw the Washington Huskies.

You don't have to think back too far to remember a time when going up to Washington struck fear in even the toughest football players in the Pac-10. Husky fans with dog masks on, a stadium that looked like people would fall out of the clouds onto you while you were in the huddle, inclement weather, an angry defense, all these were things you could expect when you saw the Washington Huskies. The angry Husky dawgs defense used to include guys like Jason Chorak, Steve Emtman, Lester Towns and Jeremiah Pharms. It did not include a bunch of guys who couldn't tackle a piñata without a blindfold. It's kind of depressing actually if you think about it. Rick Neuheisel, UCLA walk-on and legend, possessor of a law degree, man about town in the Northwest after being fired by Barbara Hedges, made Washington soft and then ducked out into the night. Instead of facing a daunting challenge, USC's offense faced a sunny day with a bunch of puppies. Even though they played erratic, it was still a laugher. Ha, Ha, Ha.

Now, the Trojans finished an impressive 4 out of 5 games on the road and they did pretty good. Maybe part of their erratic play was due to the weariness that comes with travel and the brutal game of football. That's OK, not they're coming home to play the biggest game of the year so far and I, for one, am excited.

#1, I'm excited because I no longer have to fly with the team except for the trip to Arizona. #2, every Trojan should be excited that it's homecoming. That special time of year when your ex-girlfriend comes home to either slap you or kiss you. That special time of year when you try to remember the name of a guy you used to call "brother". That special time of year when everybody, not just those who attended the university but those who wear a USC hat, is a Trojan.

Before we throw ourselves headlong into the homecoming festivities let's think about a few small problems that came along in the Washington game:

#1, Ryan Killeen's inability to kick on Field Turf. We saw it last year in Pullman, we saw it this year at Cal and we saw it against Washington. Ryan Kileen needs to get it out of his head that he can't kick on Field Turf. It is a problem and attacking Mike Williams on the sideline isn't going to solve anything. I like the fact that our kicker is tough but I like Mike Williams in that fight and so should you. Missing a kick on the road is draining and horrible, it's killed football teams in the past and hurt USC in the past (I don't need to tell you that). I'm not sure if it's a testament to USC's resilience or Washington's ineptitude but the Trojans were able to overcome Killeen's miscues very easily. I guess it wasn't that big of a deal but I'll be sweating the next time he kicks on Field Turf.

Ronald Nunn's broken eye socket not only made Husky Stadium look like the Philadelphia Spectrum in a Rocky movie with his swelled up eye, but it also raised some serious concerns about an already shaky Trojan secondary. Now, Nunn has been cleared to play this week in a miracle turnaround that had him out for the season, that is a huge sigh for the Trojans. Ronald the flying Nunn is a solid player that the Trojans need on the football field. The inexperience of Darnell Bing, coupled with the loss of a ballhawking tornado like Troy Polamalu, has made the USC secondary much more suspect than they were last year. It will be a challenge facing the likes of Matt Kegel and Devard Darling in the Coliseum on Saturday but I still like USC in a shootout.

Matt Leinart looks like a Heisman Trophy candidate if not the Pac-10 Player of the Year at this point. Is this the system? Is this Leinart? Is this Norm Chow? Is it the offensive line? Is it Reggie Bush? Is it LenDale White? Who knows but along with being a teen idol Matt Leinart seems to be the USC quarterback of the future (and the present) which leads to some relevant questions with regards to John David Booty and his redshirt year. No comments on that situation for now, we'll have to see how it pans out.

Reggie Bush is fast, not only is he fast like sprinter fast, he is fast like football fast and that is a rarity among guys that are track runners. Sultan McCullough and Kareem Kelly were impact players but they were always sprinters first and football players second and you could tell by seeing them play football. Reggie Bush is a football player first with world class sprinter speed and as he's learned to run tougher he's become a very exciting commodity. Now, that's not to say the Washington defense would not tackle either of my grandmothers, they would refuse to tackle anybody but Bush still looked like a champion.

Now, back to Homecoming. Who doesn't love Homecoming? If I ever owned a letterman's jacket from Peninsula High or the University of Southern California, or even from Berkeley, this would be the week I'd slap it on, put some gel in my hair and try to harass a cheerleader. Fortunately I don't have a letterman's jacket or gel so I'll probably just be doing things like I normally do. Even though ticket requests for the P-daddy have skyrocketed this week it seems like everything else is standard operating procedure. That's how Pete Carroll goes about doing things, no game is bigger than the next, all preparation is the same. It's been a formula that's worked for the most part so far. Getting pressure on Matt Kegel will be key because the USC secondary is going to have a hard time with these playmaking receivers. The Trojan offense is coming home to a packed house at the Coliseum because everybody wants to see the best show on the West Coast right now, it should be fun. I like USC to score over 35 points in this football game, I like Washington State to score about 20. It's gonna be a shootout but not for too long. Enjoy the game and try to avoid your ex-girlfriend. Fight On.


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