It really is hard to overstate just how impressive USC's young defensive line has been under the guidance of Jethro Franklin, who is in his second stint at USC after spending the past three years coaching in the NFL.
The defensive line, which was supposed to be a question mark coming into the season, has blossomed under Franklin and has quickly become one of the most productive units in the country.
After recording another 5 sacks in USC's 34-27 win this Saturday in South Bend, the Trojans now lead the nation with a 4.33 sacks per game average.
"This has been the most active that we have been this early in the year and we haven't had to pressure to get it," Pete Carroll said. "Everson is really a force and Nick has just been so consistent and so productive."
Casey was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after recording a team-high 10 tackles and a tackle for loss against the Irish.
"He just has a knack to get to the football," Franklin said of Casey, who has 26 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in 2009.
Everson Griffen kept Jimmy Clausen from getting comfortable by recording 3 sacks and Nick Perry added a sack.
As Carroll explained on Monday, the Trojans ability to get pressure from the front four has allowed the coaching staff to drop seven and get more creative with their coverages.
"It's a great benefit when you can rush with four guys because you are able to change up and do what you need to do coverage-wise," Carroll said. "The four man rush gives you many more options."
With as good as USC's defensive line has been this season, the future is even brighter as the only senior in the group is Averell Spicer.
"As long as we keep taking positive steps up the ladder there is a lot that this unit and this defense can do," Franklin said.
- Fullback Stanley Havili injured his shoulder during the Notre Dame game and will have an MRI on Tuesday.
"He's pretty sore today but we won't know anything until tomorrow night," Carroll said.
- Offensive lineman Alex Parson suffered a concussion against Notre Dame and was held out of practice.
- Carroll said that Armond Armstead would remain in the interior this week and play the three-technique.
- USC senior tight end Anthony McCoy, who had 5 catches for a career-high 153 yards last week against Notre Dame, was named to the John Mackey Award midseason watch list. The Mackey Award is given annually to the best collegiate tight end.
McCoy has 14 receptions for 350 yards in 2009.
- USC freshman quarterback Matt Barkley was named the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback of the Week after passing for a career-high 380 yards and two touchdowns against Notre Dame.
- Coming off an exciting 34-27 win last week in South Bend, the USC Trojans will once again try to avoid a letdown against Oregon State. While the Beavers stunned the top ranked Trojans 27-21 last season, and have upset the Trojans twice in the past three seasons, they haven't defeated USC at the Coliseum since 1960.
In case you wondering, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President at the time and a gallon of gas was $0.31.
- USC defensive line coach Jethro Franklin was asked if he had talked to the players that received personal fouls against Notre Dame and he said he has addressed the issue but better not go into the details.
"I did more than talk. It wasn't pretty. We realize that we can never play that way," Franklin said. "To have an off-sides foul is one thing but to have three guys on your unit have personal fouls is absolutely, positively, you cannot do that."
- 5-foot-8 tailback Curtis McNeal will be one of the most important and active players on the practice field this week for USC. McNeal will be the scout team tailback and play the role of Oregon State's elusive Jacquizz Rodgers.
- Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis was asked after Saturday's loss if he would have gone for two if his team had scored on their final drive.
"I was torn. I had been toiling with the answer to that question the whole drive. My gut is I probably would not have," Weis said. "I probably would have made the freshman quarterback beat you in overtime versus the veteran quarterback."
- Carroll said the Trojans' red zone offense remains a concern.
"I was disappointed that we didn't knock the ball into the end zone when we were down there a couple times," Carroll said. "We kicked the field goal instead of scoring."
- The USC Trojans moved up to No.4 in both the AP and Coaches Polls after their road win over Notre Dame, but were just 7th in the first BCS standing that were released on Sunday.
- Saturday's USC – Oregon State game at the Coliseum is a sellout. The 2007 matchup in Los Angeles which drew 85,713 fans is the largest crowd to see a USC- Oregon State game.
Tight end Anthony McCoy was named to the John Mackey Award midseason watch list.
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