Troy Talk resumed today, hosted by Joey Kaufman of Conquest Chronicles. The twitter conversation focuses on USC athletics (mainly football) and attempts to foster discussion among Trojan fans from throughout the twitterverse. Here’s a recap of the topics and our thoughts on them.
TOPIC 1- Depth chart was released on Friday. What were your thoughts? Tyler at RB, Woods at WR, and Kennard over Galippo at MLB?
With Allen Bradford a little banged up, I have absolutely no problem Tyler starting at tailback. Tyler is speedy and has shown he can run at this level. In the past, injuries have hampered his development, but if he can remain healthy he can be a real force. Meanwhile, the Trojans can use the bruiser Bradford in goal line situations. Most of all, I like that Lane Kiffin is fostering a culture of competition at positions. Throughout camp, Bradford was the supposed starter but Tyler proved more consistent and Kiffin wasn’t afraid to make the change. Overall, the running game should be productive and really help open up the passing game for Barkley. I’m glad to see Woods starting at wide receiver but also a little hesitant. It seems as though every practice report contained tales of a fantastic catch by the true freshman. On the other hand, I am worried about the chemistry with Barkley and route running. USC has plenty of talent but there won’t be room for error in close games. The wrong route in the fourth quarter of a tight game would be very costly. At linebacker, I am not surprised to see Kennard start because of his athleticism and instincts. At cornerback, I have confidence in true freshman Nickell Robey starting opposite of Shareece Wright. Kiffin raved all through camp about this kid and he will see plenty of action as teams will look to avoid Wright.
TOPIC 2- Ok, we’ve covered this a little before, but the lack of tackling in practice is a huge story. What will the effects be?
In all honesty, I think the lack of tackling won’t be a huge factor. These players have been playing football for so long and at such a high level that they know how to tackle. USC tackled in practice last year and had issues tackling at times. The ability to tackle isn’t going to depreciate noticeably because Kiffin cut out tackling. This was a move the first-year coach had to make to cut down on injuries with one 70 players on scholarship for the opener. I applaud Kiffin for showing maturity and realizing that this was the best way to keep bodies fresh.
TOPIC 3- They’ve already begun preparation for the Hawaii. Will the Thursday date and 8:00 time throw them off?
Any trip to Hawaii is daunting. The Warriors are tough at home in front of that rabid crowd. That being said, the Thursday date and time will not affect the Trojans in any way. Even though it isn’t the normal date or time, it is the season opener. USC hasn’t established a routine yet that would be disrupted by playing on a short week. If this were week 3, I could see that being a factor because athletes are extremely superstitious and that might play into the mental game. Nonetheless, the Trojans will come out mentally prepared with an “us against the world” mentality that will lead to an inspired effort.
TOPIC 4- If you ask most ppl keeping up with USC what the best position is D-Line is the answer. But how good is it? Wild Bunch 3?
Getting a read on the defensive line is hard because the offensive line was banged up throughout the fall. Nevertheless, the defensive line dominated and showcased tremendous potential in camp. While it isn’t as good as the Wild Bunch 3, this defensive line should be among the the best in the conference (and even the nation if you ask ESPN Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller). On the ends, Armond Armstead, Nick Perry, and Wes Horton are a formidable rotation that will challenge the lines. Meanwhile, Jurrell Casey is a defensive tackle that is among the nation’s elite. Overall, the line will relieve some pressure on the secondary and be the heart of an elite defense coached by Monte Kiffin.
TOPIC 5- The Sagarian Ratings, a component of the BCS standings, has USC ranked #4 already? Is that too high?
Ludicrous! Even as a diehard Trojan fan wearing cardinal colored glasses, it is impossible to see USC ranked any higher than 14 at this point. Too many other teams stand above them in terms of returning talent. While the Trojans have plenty of talent, there are questions abound about the lack of experience and lack of depth. It is nice to see USC placed that high, but a team ranked fourth shouldn’t have as much uncertainty as the Trojans do. Throughout the season, they will have ample opportunity to justify this, but as of right now the ranking is absurdly high.