Move Those Chains - Arkansas review

Checking the clock, it's 9:05 pm. The USC game is scheduled to start in 10 minutes and there are still 12 minutes remaining in a 51-3 Texas – Rice game. If they make me watch the 5th string Texas quarterback take a knee on nine successive offensive plays and miss the start of the USC game… okay, they just switched over. Things could have gotten messy there.

Before Fox Sports Net allows me to take in the Trojans' home opener of the 2005 season, I'm able to catch the tail end of a Texas sized whipping of Rice.

The commentators are talking about Reggie Bush in preparation for the upcoming USC game. Analyst: "Could you imagine if he played quarterback, and touched the ball as many times per game as Vince Young?" Play-by-play guy: "Ya, but we don't know if he can throw the ball. We've never seen him on an option pass or a reverse throw." Sure, you haven't. But the rest of us that actually pay attention to the full landscape of college football have. How about a 50-yard touchdown pass against Colorado State last season? Not only can Bush throw the ball, he can throw it better than Young.

Checking the clock, it's 9:05 pm. The USC game is scheduled to start in 10 minutes and there are still 12 minutes remaining in a 51-3 Texas – Rice game. If they make me watch the 5th string Texas quarterback take a knee on nine successive offensive plays and miss the start of the USC game… okay, they just switched over. Things could have gotten messy there.

What's the difference between Vince Young and Troy Smith? Young had something like 100 passing yards and 70 rushing yards, no touchdowns and one interception tonight against Rice. Sure, he's a great runner, but he's probably just slightly above average as an overall quarterback. He makes bad decisions and bad reads and you won't get me to believe that his "amazing" throw to win the game against Ohio State was anything more than a good player making a good play.

Just because I've never seen the aurora borealis or Niagara Falls doesn't mean I can't say that a completely packed Coliseum waiting to see a season opening night game is the most beautiful sight on the planet.

Normally the graphics that stations come up with to showcase the teams to viewers are pretty hokey, but this is the single greatest game opening sequence I have ever seen. Leinart is standing in front of a transparent chalkboard that looks like the thing Tom Cruise uses in Minority Report, where he's moving things around by touching the screen. Anyway, Leinart selects his troops, Bush, White, Smith, Jarrett by pulling the names out of a list. I know watching the boys run out of the tunnel is sweet, but since we at home didn't get to see that, at least this was pretty cool. Or maybe it's just the fact that last week was a bye and I'm a little stir crazy.

This chess sequence is even better, but I'm not going into it. Thank God the game's about to start.

Bush has the 619 eyeblack going. Being from San Diego, I'm going to take that as being equivalent to a TRL shout out to me.

The Trojans look like a team of Ray Lewises coming out of the tunnel. I know some people thought maybe the Trojans would be looking forward to Oregon, but there is no possible way that USC is overlooking this game.

Something of a trick play on first down for Arkansas. I thought something like that might happen, with all the talk of just smashing the ball up the middle. I look for them to calm down with some running now.

Overthrowing a wide open Marcus Monk is a little like missing Yao Ming on an alley-oop.

Well, after forcing a punt, the time of possession is looking better than against Hawaii and if nothing else, we'll run more than 3 plays in the first quarter.

Gotta love seeing the fullback get involved on the opening play. That was a Chow play if ever there was one.

It is absolutely unbelievable how good Reggie Bush is. A 76-yard touchdown on the game's third play. I would write more, but I can't think of anything else to say. Kirtman had a great block there.

It seems like every year the kick return coverage team has some problems. With the defense having questions, the coverage team needs to be more than solid. Giving up returns like that won't happen very often though, as long as the coverage guys can keep their emotions under control.

I think Dallas Sartz is a great player, and I appreciate everything that he has done as a member of the team, but if he has to leave the field for an extended period of time (multiple games), Thomas Williams will not allow him to get his spot back.

Well there's Marcus Monk. If Arkansas only has to go 20 yards per drive, they'll score every time. The former isn't happening, so the latter is definitely out.

Is it just me or does Petros always sound like he's rooting for the other team? I mean, I know he can't make it obvious that he roots for the Trojans, but sometimes it feels like he goes too far the other way.

I know Ohio State has Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes, but Desmond Reed and Reggie Bush are the best set of kick returners in college football. When it comes to USC, it's almost ridiculous how many words can fill in the blank in the sentence, "USC has the best ________ in the country. I mean, what do you want to put there? Coach? Quarterback? Offensive Line? Punter? Weather? Uniforms? It's all true.

And just as I'm writing that, Reggie Bush scores again. That Leinart throw was amazing. His arm looks twice as good as last year, just as advertised.

They just showed Dallas Sartz without pads heading to the locker room. Those of you who thought maybe four great linebacker recruits was overkill may want to shelve those ideas.

I like to see the gang tackling. No tackle has been made by just one person. The Arkansas ball carriers look like pieces of meat being torn from all directions by Trojan defensemen.

And on cue, Thomas Williams comes up with a huge hit on the quarterback. The difference between Williams and Sartz is that Sartz seems to play more of a cerebral game. He'll out-position you to make the play and is always trying to read a step ahead of the play. Williams, on the other hand, seems like he couldn't care less about what you're trying to do. All he wants to do is hit you. And while I'm not saying that Dallas can't lay the wood on you, I'd much rather go up against him if I'm an opposing running back. Getting his by Thomas Williams just looks like it can take years off your life.

This offense wouldn't be working any better if Arkansas was playing with just 4 down linemen and no secondary.

Not only does USC have the best offense in college football, the second team (probably Texas) should be ranked at number 10, behind eight blank spaces.

This USC team is so good. After every play that's all I can say. "He is so good. This team is so good." I mean, I know I'm supposed to be a writer with all these original thoughts and sayings, but really, what else is there to say?

If football was an Olympic sport, and it was reserved only for amateurs, wouldn't you take every member of this Trojan offense? I mean, who else makes the team? I'm sure some people would want Ted Ginn Jr. on offense, but he hasn't shown me anything on that side of the ball. I mean, he's great when he has the ball and a huge running lane, but he just doesn't seem to see the field nearly as well as Reggie Bush. Nor can he create his own touches on the ball, as evidenced by the game against Texas. So if I'm heading to Beijing as the football coach of Team USA, I'm taking every starting Trojan as my offense.

USC has scored 21 points in 6 minutes. The Trojans are on pace for 210 points. I'll take the under, but I won't bet much.

Apparently after their touchdown the Razorbacks were chanting that the Trojans were no better than an average SEC team. I suppose after losing to Vanderbilt, a 14 point lead over the Hogs could still mean the Trojans are just an average SEC team.

On Felix Jones' first carry, it's a little evident as to the change from last year's defensive line. As the D-line slants toward the ball carrier on a run along the line of scrimmage, last year there were no lanes to cut back into. This year, we saw Jones able to cut back, not for many yards, but for a bit.

Robert Johnson is having a better game than Vince Young, but I bet Johnson doesn't get much Heisman hype after tonight. I don't know what it is about Young that bothers me so much. Maybe it's my disdain for constantly scrambling quarterbacks and the "Urban"ization of college football. Maybe it's because I don't believe that everything's bigger in Texas. Whatever the reason, you won't find me anywhere near the Vince Young bandwagon.

Maybe it's just the little kid in me, but Oscar Lua and Thomas Williams remind me of Fulton Reed and Dean Portman, "Bash Brothers" in the second installment of The Mighty Ducks movies. Being hit simultaneously by those two would rank just above being eaten slowly by a shark on my "things I never want to have happen to me" list.

I know injuries are part of the game, but come on…Darnell Bing, Dallas Sartz and now Terrell Thomas? Let's keep Traveller's touchdown trots to a minimum tonight; I don't want to see him throwing a shoe.

Every year it seems that I take to one of the unsung Trojan players. Last year was Eric Wright and he turned in a very solid year. This year it's Josh Pinkard. I know I'm saying this after the play, but Pinkard is going to be great. That interception was a great read and a wonderful athletic play.

Hey, remember how Matt Leinart is slow and can't run? I don't know what Petros is talking about. Leinart looked great on that scramble. Just because he's never asked to run doesn't mean he can't. A great athlete is a great athlete.

This kick return coverage is improving, maybe each year they just need one wake-up call.

John Walker just overran that handoff. That's twice in the game that someone blitzing off the edge has attacked too far into the backfield. With the speed of this defense, I'd always rather see those blitzers force the runner to bounce outside rather than sneak past them upfield. This defense should always be able to track people to the sideline, but once opposing runners get past that first line of defense and the blitzer, it's tougher to get a good angle on them.

They just showed a promo for Fox Pro Football. Is it weird that pro football doesn't interest me in the least? I mean, if I want to watch a 7-6 game, I'll just watch Nebraska and Pittsburgh.

Much is going to be made of the graphic they just showed. Arkansas has run over 30 plays in the first quarter to USC's eight. I can hear the questions now: "What if USC's defense gets tired from playing so much?" "What about clock management and ball control?" Guess what, 28 points beats seven points every time. In no game does the amount of plays run or time of possession determine the winner.

Does Petros have family in Arkansas? Does Houston Nutt have pictures of him somewhere? Since when does a 2 yard run count as a "very positive" play? They only reason they got two yards on that play is because the running back's knees don't bend the other way. I know he's got to keep people interested in the game, but why not just start telling stories about his playing days?

It won't count because of the penalty, but Josh Pinkard made another great play in coverage, sticking with the Hog receiver and making a diving play on the ball.

And sure enough, the announcers go straight to the time of possession thing.

That was actually a good point about the snap count. The Trojan offense is so disciplined that Matt Leinart doesn't have to worry as much as other quarterbacks do about false starts and illegal motion. Who would have thought that something like that that could turn into a constant weapon to get first downs?

There's LenDale's first carry, and a great reaction from the crowd. LenDale is such a great runner, I feel confident every time the ball is in his hands.

Arkansas is switching defensive fronts like Colin Farrell switches girlfriends. It's not going to work, in both cases.

Will Buchanon was making those catches in spring ball. He'll make that catch later this season, maybe this game.

A screen to LenDale White. Is that even fair? At some point the rule book has to be rewritten to keep the Trojan offense out of the endzone, right?

Leinart with two incompletions in the last couple plays. I think he switched Arkansas' defense from Junior Varsity to Varsity.

Mike Wi… I mean Dwayne Jarrett with a great first down catch on a quick slant.

That was just about the weirdest touchdown pass I've ever seen from Matt Leinart to Dwayne Jarrett. Nevermind. That was just about the worst video replay understanding I've ever seen.

How's that for time of possession? A long drive capped off by another touchdown. There is nothing this Trojan offense can't do. We should have had them work on lowering gas prices during the bye week.

You want to know what's under review? My appreciation for instant replay. LenDale was clearly in. Why does the replay official call for a review unless they already have evidence to overturn the play?

The offensive line, tight ends, full backs and running backs have been absolutely perfect against the Razorback blitz. Leinart has scrambled a few times, but nothing serious.

There's Jarrett getting his touchdown back.

I know that steroids have been in the news recently, but does the NCAA check for anything stronger than steroids? Because I'm pretty sure that every Trojan is taking them.

I can't imagine being a part of this Arkansas defense. I'm tired after this first half and I'm just typing.

Watching this USC team absolutely warps my perception of college football. I find myself wondering how it's possible that a game can enter the half 3-0, or how a two touchdown game for a quarterback can make him player of the week. This team, and especially the offense, is just making a mockery of college football this year.

Do these numbers even make sense anymore? Dwayne Jarrett has 5 touchdown catches in two games. Reggie Bush is 30 rushing yards away from a 100-100 receiving rushing game at the half. Matt Leinart has completed 400% of his passes, three more touchdowns and saved a dog from the eleventh floor of a burning building.

Ho-hum, another eighty something yard drive on 4 plays. Remember when you played Nintendo's Tecmo Bowl and you would run the kickoff out of bounds at the one yard line, just so you could run or pass for a 99-yard touchdown? Should the Trojans start doing that? Would that be even more degrading for the defense? What's the proper etiquette on this?

Thomas Williams with another great play.

Alex Mortenson looks like he's playing while being chased by a pack of lions. At this point, maybe he'd prefer that.

And that sack provides an answer to an age old question. Pete Carroll let the dogs out.

I can't stand all this talk about Reggie Bush not being able to run between the tackles. It's actually to the point that it infuriates me. Look at some of his touchdown runs last year, against Colorado State, at BYU, at Stanford both runs at UCLA and a handful of carries against Oklahoma. Where did they go? Straight up the middle? That's what I thought.

You know those Burger King commercials, where the creepy King guy replaces NFL players in game situations? I'd like to see a commercial where LenDale White is replaced by a Hummer on a run up the middle. I'm pretty sure defenders would react the same way.

That Kirtman touchdown was just awesome. It's always fun to see a great person make a great play. Do coordinators around the nation even try to come up with ways to defense this Trojan team? Do you think Nick Aliotti, Oregon's defensive coordinator, is digging holes all over Autzen stadium's turf and covering them with palm frawns?

Tackling Brandon Hancock in the open field must feel like trying to bring down the Statue of Liberty.

Desmond Reed breaks off a long run. I wonder if Reggie Herring, Arkansas' defensive coordinator, just studied the media guide instead of game film to determine all the players he would need to prepare for.

Exactly. Petros just made my point. (About Reed, and admitting he was wrong about an earlier point) "Didn't I say he wasn't tough between the tackles?" People need to stop talking about Reed and Bush like their pads are made of paper mache. These are tough runners who will stand up any linebacker who isn't ready to take a hit.

Welcome aboard Patrick Turner, on a quick slant and a great catch. I was just getting ready to write about how Patrick Turner will probably be worked into the offense more as this game winds down so that he's ready to make an impact in Pac-10 play. Needless to say, Turner's second career catch went for a touchdown

I'm not at the game, so some of you will have to let me know how the yell leaders looked during their round of 63 push-ups. At this point, I think it would be in everyone's best interest to just hire the guys from American Gladiators to come aboard as yell leaders. Think they're available?

Apparently the freshman seminar tackling class is given during the spring semester. Ellison, Maualuga, and Thomas were all responsible for some missed tackles during that drive.

Michael Coleman with two consecutive good runs to start his career. Maybe it's not the players. Maybe it's just anyone that lines up behind the quarterback at USC turns into Barry Sanders.

The freshmen defensemen stepped up during that drive, Maualuga in particular. This kid can play, and I mean now.

If you were a high school senior being recruited by USC, what reason would you have for not coming here? Want to see significant playing time in your home opener? Want to be on the winning side of two consecutive 46-point blowouts? Want to possibly never lose another game, ever? Who says, "no thanks" to that?

And as I'm typing that, a true freshman, Kaluka Miaiva, comes up with a great pick.

Okay, now they're just putting kids from the stands in the Trojan backfield.

I'll say it. This is the best offense that has ever been assembled in the history of college football. If you want to try and prove otherwise, I'm not listening.

Are you kidding me? 63 and 70 points in back-to-back games? This team is so good. There was absolutely nothing to nitpick during this game. If the Trojans play like that in every game (with the exception of the one long kick return), not only will they not lose, they won't come close to losing.

From the looks of that game, it seems that Pete Carroll's "one game at a time" philosophy has rubbed off on the Trojans. Every player came out and performed to his maximum potential against Arkansas, as a 53-point win can attest to.

I will be interesting to note the injury situation, especially since they're taking place almost exclusively on the defensive side of the ball. But as has been the case in the past, players are always ready to step up and fill the roles that need to be filled.

Heading into the game against Oregon, I know that Autzen Stadium can get pretty loud, but no amount of noise is going to derail this Trojan machine. The Trojans must be thinking like that caveman in the Geico commercial. They'll have the roast duck, with the mango salsa. Top Stories