Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Is The Offense For USC In 2011? Is Pete Carroll To Blame?

Are the dominating offensive times over for USC? In two very close wins over Minnesota and Utah this year, USC has struggled to put points on the board.  This seems highly uncharacteristic for a team that, just a few years ago, was 37.5 points per game (over twice what they're doing right now).

Most disconcerting is that this is with junior Matt Barkley at quarterback, who is considered one of the top quarterbacks in next year's NFL draft.  Typically, by the time a USC QB is starting for his third year, he's putting up numbers that would qualify him for the Heisman.

Let's take a closer look at the stats. I've rounded up where appropriate.  2011 includes just the first two games played.
                                         2011              2010               2009            2008              
Total Yards                      393               431                 389                454
Passing                             286               250                 230                269
Rushing                             109                189                167                195
Points/Game                    21                  31                   26                  38
BCS Rank - Offense          55                  28                   49                  13

Lane Kiffin took over for the 2010 season, so last year's offensive numbers were respectable to what USC has done in the past.  2009 was Matt Barkley's freshman year, where he (and then correspondingly, the team) struggled on offense at times.  2008 was the Mark Sanchez year.  Again, that was his junior year, but also his only year starting.

I understand that the Trojans are facing an uphill battle regarding scholarship restrictions, and for some unknown reason, former coach Pete Carroll  signed less than 18 players for three of the four years preceding Lane Kiffin taking over in 2010.

Between redshirts, injuries, and the expected couple of annual transfers, how did Carroll think he was going to compete?

In any case, the lack of depth gives Kiffin an excuse for some things and a reasonable person would not judge him by this year's team.  However, many college football fans are not reasonable people, and if USC struggles again this year, look for the anti-Kiffin crowd to start making a lot of noise.

No comments: