The USC offense is coming off an impressive performance last
week against Notre Dame. This week the Trojans face a very talented Oregon
defense in Eugene.
The Ducks have a solid group of
defensive linemen led by junior defensive end Nick Reed. Reed is the Ducks
leading tackler among linemen with 29 tackles. Perry has spent a lot of time in
opposing team's backfields with 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Perry's
7.5 sacks is tops in the Pac-10.
Senior nose tackle David Faaeteete
is the Oregon's most experienced defensive linemen having appeared in 38 games
as a Duck. Faaeteete has 13 tackles including 6 tackles for loss.
The Trojans return several
offensive linemen from injury this week and should be able to control the line
of scrimmage. Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight should be a tough combo for the
Ducks defense to stop.
Like every week the Trojans will
look to establish the run early because they don't want to get into a shootout
with the high-powered Oregon offense.
The linebackers have been the
weakness of the Oregon defense in 2007. The Ducks suffered a major setback when
senior captain A.J. Tuitele was sidelined with a broken foot.
Kwame Agyeman has stepped in to replace Tuitele. Agyeman has
29 tackles including 4 tackles for loss.
The Trojans will try and expose the
Ducks linebackers by running the ball right at them. The play of the Oregon
linebackers will go a long way in determining the success of the Ducks defense.
The Ducks have a pair of very
talented cornerbacks in sophomores Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmond III. Thurmond
started 12 games as a freshman in 2006 and lead the Ducks in passes broken up.
With his impressive play as a freshman Thurmond earned honorable mention
Thurmond is having an even better
season in 2007. So far this season Thurmond is tied for second on the team with
60 tackles and leads the Ducks with 12 pass break ups.
The young corner plays a physical
style of football and should really test the young USC receivers.
Jairus Byrd starts at the other
corner position and has been just as impressive as Walter Thurmod III. Byrd lead
the Ducks in interceptions in 2006 and the honorable mention all-conference
selection was named Oregon's top newcomer.
Byrd was converted from safety in
2006, so he is a very physical corner and a sure tackler in the open field. So
far this season, Byrd has 34 tackles and a team high three interceptions.
The Ducks two up and coming
cornerbacks will be a great challenge for the Trojans receivers who had a solid
performance last week against Notre Dame.
Junior safety Patrick Chung is a
team captain and leader of the Ducks secondary. Chung, who has started in 32
games in his career as a Duck, adds a wealth of experience and knowledge to the
Like cornerbacks Jarius Byrd and
Walter Thurmond III, Chung was also named to the honorable mention
all-conference team. The multi-talented safety is second on the team with 60
tackles. Chung has also intercepted two passes and blocked two punts in 2007.
Senior Matthew Harper starts at
free safety for Oregon. Harper broke into the starting lineup this season and
has quickly emerged as the Ducks leading tackler. He recorded a career-high 15
tackles in his starting debut against Houston.
Harper is currently tied for fifth
in the Pac-10 averaging 9.4 tackles a game.
Oregon is currently 7th in the Pac-10 in passing defense so look for the Trojans to get tight end Fred Davis and fullback Stanley Havili involved in the passing game early and often this week against Oregon.