Tuesday, September 8, 2009

USC-San Jose State: 5 Things Recap

Here is a recap of USC's 56-3 blowout of San Jose State on Saturday, through the lens of my 5 things to watch for post on Friday.

1. Who gets the early carries?

Matt Barkley put on a good opening act, but Saturday was all about Joe McKnight. The junior tailback got the early carries, and even more importantly, continued to get carries after coughing it up for the umpteenth time in his USC career.

Pete Carroll appears more than willing to put up with McKnight's fumbling woes, which should be as concerning to Trojans fans as McKnight's dazzling second touchdown dash was promising.

2. Will Bates be all about balance?

This might have more to do with No. 3 than anything else, but new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was content giving the majority of touches to USC's stable of tailbacks.

Running the ball worked, so Bates ran with it. You have to expect that will be the Trojans' strength moving forward, so we'll call the game one play-calling a plus.

3. Will everything be kept under wraps?

Yes. The reason? Nothing special had to be done to stomp all over the Spartans.

As the commentators said in the fourth quarter, "USC is running no more than five plays."

Just as Carroll and Bates planned it.

4. Can David Ausberry be a threat?

The jury is still out on this one. He wasn't needed Saturday, and thus, this is still a major question for USC.

5. How hard will Taylor Mays try to get a pick?

It was entertaining watching Mays after the whistle had sounded. I think he patted just about every San Jose State player on the butt. Twice.

This being Mays' fourth season, he probably understood more than his younger teammates that the game was little more than a glorified scrimmage.

We'll see how Mays approaches the Buckeyes next week.

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