USC Football: Woods and Lee the Best WR Tandem in USC History? – Part 3


After comparing the tandem of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee(right) to Curtis Conway and Johnnie Morton on Tuesday, and Mike Williams and Keary Colbert yesterday, it’s time to see how they stack up against Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, two receivers that were huge cogs in one of college football’s most historic offenses.

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Jarrett and Smith played three seasons together, from 2004 to 2006, winning three Pac-12 titles and never losing a single game at the Coliseum. Over the course of their three seasons together, they caught a combined 389 passes for 5,838 yards and 61 touchdowns. Those are numbers that will probably never be matched for a pair of Trojans, especially since it’s rather unlikely that Robert Woods would come back for a senior season, which would give the Woods and Lee duo a third year.

While Jarrett and Smith’s numbers are mind blowing, it’s important to consider the rest of the offense as we did with Curtis Conway and Johnnie Morton. In 2005, the Trojans were just 43 yards short of having the honorable distinction of having one 3,000 yard passer, along with two 1,000 yard rushers and two 1,000 receivers. Those are impossible numbers even for NCAA Football 12.

When you consider that Reggie Bush and LenDale White combined for 3,042 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground, it’s easy to see that while Jarrett and Smith were potent, they weren’t in the drivers seat of the offense. Interesting enough though, with Lane Kiffin calling plays in 2005, the Trojans threw to set up the run, often opening games by going to Jarrett and Smith early and often, before grinding out the rushing yards with Bush and White.

What makes the Jarrett and Smith pair so interesting and great, is that they stayed at the top of their game through three offensive coordinators, two quarterbacks and two ensembles of playmakers in the backfield. While they began with Norm Chow, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White, they finished with Steve Sarkisian, John David Booty, Chauncey Washington, C.J. Gable and Emmanuel Moody. With Matt Barkley returning for his senior season in 2012, and assuming Woods leaves for the NFL after the season, the Woods and Lee tandem will only have one set of personnel for a two year spell at USC.

While Jarrett and Smith lacked the ‘blow you away’ year that Woods and Lee had in 2011 or Mike Williams and Keary Colbert had in 2003, their steady production throughout their seasons together helped make them a cohesive unit. In 2005, Jarrett’s 91 catches led the Pac-12 Conference, while in 2006, both Jarrett and Smith had nearly identical stats and both eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark albeit with much fewer catches, 71 and 70 respectively.

Jarrett and Smith took off from where Williams and Colbert left off, with Jarrett being the physical receiver that Williams was, and Smith serving as the possession receiver, in addition to being a strong route runner and deep threat, a la Keary Colbert was. As a pair, they not only played together at a perfect time for a historic USC offense, but their relative lengthy longevity is something that is unparalleled at USC in terms of receiver duos.

Robert Woods and Marqise Lee might put up better numbers individually, but it’s hard to say that their effect on the game will match that of Jarrett and Smith, considering that they did it both with the best backfield in college football since World War II in 2005, and with a bunch of first year starters in 2006.

Quite the toss up if you ask me, but what do you say?

Which USC receiver tandem is better?

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