USC Football: What Arizona State Means for UCLA

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November 10, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans wide receiver Robert Woods (2) runs the ball against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Against Arizona State: Robert Woods caught two passes for negative three yards in what was his worst game, statistically, as a Trojan.

What that means for UCLA: Woods went on Twitter after the game and put it this way…

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Lost in the Heisman buzz surrounding Marqise Lee’s incredible season has been the drop off of @HeismanWoods. Last season Woods averaged nine catches and 107.7 yards per game. Those numbers have dropped to six catches and 65.3 yards per game this year. He has surpassed 100 yards just one time this season while last year he passed the century mark seven times.

Injuries have clearly had an effect this year with Woods unable to practice most of the week. His chemistry with Matt Barkley seems out of sync. But at the same time, Barkley is the kind of quarterback who likes the security blanket of his primary receiver and this year that receiver is Lee, not Woods. Woods’ numbers have suffered partly because, when in doubt, Barkley locks in on Lee and throws his way, for better or worse.

In terms of UCLA, expect more plays to target Woods specifically. Kiffin, in his Sunday conference call, mentioned talking to Woods about “staying positive.” The fact that any discussion needed to take place means that Kiffin, and Barkley, will be keenly aware of Woods’ frustration in the passing game. With the Bruins’ less than impressive pass defense (they rank 103rd nationally in passing yards allowed) Woods shouldn’t have too much trouble getting involved if the play-caller and quarterback are determined to let him. Remember that last season, Lee and Woods came away with 13 and 12 catches respectively along with two touchdowns apiece against the Bruins. There’s every reason to believe they can both have a big game against the Bruins.

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