USC Football: George Farmer’s Opportunity


With news that Robert Woods will sit out at least until fall camp the question about who will step up will start being thrown around.  Woods initially was set to return to the practice field for spring drills after having his ankle scoped in December.  After missing all of spring and now missing all of summer, there is no guarantee that Woods will make it back when camp opens the first week of August.  Regardless of when he makes it back it will take some time to get in proper football conditioning and get up to game speed.  This opens the door for someone to establish themselves as the next in line.

George Farmer could very well be that player.

Farmer was the top receiver in the nation coming out of Junipero Serra High School in 2011 where he prepped with current Trojans teammate Marqise Lee.  While Lee exploded onto the national scene as a freshman, Farmer was moved to running back where he battled some injuries and didn’t see much playing time.  He petitioned head coach Lane Kiffin to switch him back to receiver at the conclusion of the 2011 season, which Kiffin agreed to.  After a great start to spring drills he was eventually hindered by a hamstring injury.  So to date, we have yet to see what exactly Farmer can do in a Trojans uniform.  The talent is there but will his tremendous promise ever be fulfilled is the big question mark surrounding him.

The injury situation with Woods gives Farmer a unique second opportunity to do what he couldn’t do in the spring, make a name for himself.  It will be imperative for the Trojans offense to have that second threat at the receiver position if Woods is somehow delayed.  The dull threats on the outside make the offense that much more difficult to defend.  It opens up running lanes that otherwise wouldn’t be there as the safety can’t walk up into the box to support the run in fear of defending the pass.  The middle of the field is open for tight ends and running backs out of the backfield because there is so much attention paid to what is going on on the outside.  Woods and Lee make it an extremely difficult offense to gameplan for.

If Farmer can some how stay healthy and establish himself as that guy, not only does it keep the defense off balance, it makes the offense that much more dangerous once Woods returns.  If spring was any indication, Kiffin is looking to run a lot of 3 receiver sets this season.  This will spread the defense out even more and pulls either the safety or an outside linebacker out to the slot.  Let’s face it: Farmer, Woods, or Lee in the slot against a safety or a linebacker is an immediate mismatch.  Also the design of the offense again gives Curtis McNeal and the running game daylight to run to.

The sidelining of Woods creates an opportunity for Farmer to establish himself as an integral part of the offense.  His talent level means he can get the job done but will his body finally cooperate with him?  If he gets it figured out, defenses will have their work cut out for them this fall.