The Trojans continued their penalty woes on Saturday, officially committing nine, although none of those nine included a mental mistake penalty such as a daily of game or false start. The reasoning for that? Perhaps the hurry-up offense that Lane Kiffin deployed in the first half.
USC came out immediately with an Oregon-esque tempo, as the first three touchdown drives lasted a total of two minutes and 50 seconds on just eight plays, totaling 163 yards.
Matt Barkley was continuously running the offense without a huddle and the Trojans were hustling to the line of scrimmage play in and play out, something we’ve never really seen before in a USC offense.
Is it here to stay perhaps? Lane Kiffin may have shed light on that in his postgame press conference:
It was something that we’ve practiced throughout the year and we were waiting for the right time. We felt it went with the emphasis of attacking. And really, not worrying about who we were playing and coming out firing and making sure we weren’t taking [Colorado] lightly. It was about that emphasis for our players and to challenge them to play really fast. It kept our three receivers on the field. We had been playing a lot of base the last few weeks with a fullback, so we put Nelson [Agholor] in there and it really helped us to see what they were doing. Matt [Barkley] did a great job with it.
Kiffin pointing out the strategic importance of a fast-paced offense is right on point, especially because Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti likes to run his defense with a hockey shift mentality, as he’s constantly substituting different packages in and out of the game to keep guys fresh.
If the Trojans plan to implement a no huddle attack against the Ducks, they’ll not only prevent Oregon from substituting and wear them down, the speed could possibly allow for weaknesses in the defense to show through.
With as good as Oregon’s defense has been so far this season, coupled with Arizona’s inability to handle fast-paced offensives, it seems as good of a time as any for the Trojans to work in some no huddle if it’s going to become a mainstay in the Kiffin offense.