Petros Papadakis will speak at the WeAreSC dinner this Wednesday at Papadakis Taverna in San Pedro. Click here for details
Only two unexplainably huge football games remain on the Trojans schedule and now that
Justin Fargas continues to play like a man possessed, racking up 125 hard yards into not a great ASU defense but a hard hitting one. Sultan McCullough had the long run that we needed him to have and I believe his confidence is back for the UCLA game. He only had four carries on the game and that is probably not enough. However, with Fargas attacking the way he does, that type of back needs to carry the ball to be successful, especially in the 3rd and 4th quarter. This is sort of a quandary that Coach Pola is in for tailback playing time. Malaefou MacKenzie was relatively quiet but look for him to step up, he always has big games against UCLA. Chad Pierson got some more playing time and looked comfortable and ready to go. I know I keep saying it but look for
Despite an early touchdown, Mike Williams looked a little lackadaisical and/or gimpy on that left ankle but he did complete that nice pass to Keary Colbert that even I could have made. He may need another week to recover, I hope he doesn't practice too much this week to rest up for the UCLA game. Kareem Kelly had one catch and his production is down, it's funny though because when you see him with the ball this year he looks very, very confident. I hope that he is a bigger factor in the weeks to come. Keary Colbert has become USC's most consistent receiver and plays like a technician every week. I can only hope the best for Keary and his impending NFL career, he works very hard and deserves everything he gets. Alex Holmes continues to be a mainstay in the Trojan offense. As he gets more and more comfortable catching the football at the college level (though it's come a little late in his opinion) the more opposing defenses will have to look out for him. A good run and three extremely capable receivers have opened things up for Alex to become a substantial factor in the Trojan offense. It's also kind of fun to watch people try to tackle him while he just stands there like the
Norm Chow did some interesting things with his offensive line this week. He started pulling tackles and running weak counter plays utilizing Justin Fargas' ability to hit the line of scrimmage with big momentum. Winston Justice and Jacob Rogers both looked pretty good on a couple pulls and in control as they were running downfield. Fargas did a good job of getting up behind the pulls and punishing the
In Shaun Cody's absence, Bernard Riley has been very stout against the run and seems maniacal when rushing the passer (though he doesn't usually get there in time). Kenechi Udeze had a scare with a neck stinger but was right back in on the next series. He's grown up to become a very, very tough player and the most physically intimidating Trojan on Coach Orgeron's defensive line. Omar Nazel is still playing with pain but a couple sacks make him feel a lot better, he's still the most improved and best turnaround story for USC this season.
Pete Carroll decided to bring the house with people blitzing from everywhere and it confused a seemingly afraid, gangly and uncoordinated Andrew Walter although he did have a pretty strong arm. In the absence of Shaun Cody, Matt Grootegoed has emerged as the Trojans best front seven player….imagine that because he's really a safety. Melvin Simmons also looked good blitzing and he's improved his play in the passing game with a nice interception. He closes very well and has really solidified the linebacking corps for USC. Though they do remove Mike Pollard in nickel situations, he's a very good MLB and nobody (I mean nobody) can run on the Trojans this year.
Handling the Pac-10's best receiver didn't seem too hard, except for when Justin Wyatt gave up a touchdown right before half on a wheel route which is forgivable because he's a young guy and a pretty athletic and aggressive cornerback who should be good in the future. DeShaun Hill turned in his best game with an interception which was a helluva play. DeShaun's consistency has anchored what was supposed to be a troubled USC secondary which has now turned into a strength. Nobody thinks of Marcell Allmond as a wide receiver anymore, he is a physical and competitive corner that deserves every accolade that the secondary gets this season. He has taken control of a position that was a huge concern early in the season and cost the Trojans maybe a couple victories at
Special teams (A-)
The kicking game was fine. Ryan Kileen made two field goals, one of which was very impressive from 41 yards. It looks like he's ready to go if the Trojans need him to beat UCLA, let's keep our fingers crossed. The kickoff coverage team seemed to improve. If you ever have a chance watch Lee Webb (#35) run down on kickoff you will see him fly through the air like a shot putted bowling ball. Malone hit the longest Trojan punt I've ever seen at the Coliseum, unfortunately it blew right past his coverage and a long return dulled the moment.
To have your team ready and able to handle two mediocre teams with the UCLA and Notre Dame games (which will draw huge national attention) looming in the background is a great feat for any coaching staff. The ASU team, though not as good as USC, was not a foregone conclusion to lose to the Trojans on Saturday. Carroll game planned, adjusted and did everything he had to do to win the game and get on to the next week. Not enough can be said about him and his staff and the work they have done this season.
OK, UCLA is next and what else can be said? To me and most other Trojan faithful the Bruin is the most despicable kind of person that you can possibly be. The Bruin is the type of guy who only wants to pay for exactly what he ordered at a group dinner. The Bruin writes checks at the super
Petros Papadakis is a former USC tailback and the sideline reporter for Trojans football on KMPC-1540. He also hosts the Trojans pregame show and Tuesday night's USC Insider on KMPC-1540. On television, Petros is an analyst for Fox Sports Net's Southern California Sports Report and he's the sideline reporter for Fox Sports Net's "High School Game of the Week." When Petros is not doing television or radio he's waiting tables at his family's Greek restaurant, Papadakis Taverna, in San Pedro. Petros has no free time.