USC Football: Three Keys to Beating Norm Chow’s Hawaii Offense


Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

The Trojans may go into the game against Hawaii without much preparation for the Warriors’ personnel, but they know Norm Chow far too well, given his history at USC. Here’s how the Trojans can stop the Norm Chow offense:

1. Pressure QB Sean Schroeder.Every time you have a new quarterback taking snaps against you, you need to get as much pressure as possible on him to rattle his nerves. With Sean Schroeder and the Norm Chow offense, it’s pressure that can disrupt the entire gameplan, as the offensive is a time-based attack that thrives with solid offensive line play to drive the run, set up the pass and allow for diversion in the form of playaction passes and bootlegs. Considering that Hawaii will break in four new starters on the offensive line, there will presumably be plenty of opportunities for the Trojans to get after Schroeder, even with a defensive line as inexperienced as USC’s. The Warriors have plenty of depth and experience at receiver, and the more balls they get out on the perimeter, the more life Hawaii will have in the game.

2. Contain the short passes.The Norm Chow offense isn’t a dink and dunk offense, but it’s a passing attack that enables plenty of check down options out of the backfield, in the flat and with the tight ends. With the youth of Schroeder, check downs are going to be his safety blanket against the Trojans’ veteran secondary. Pass coverage from the linebackers underneath on backs and tight ends can put plenty of secondary pressure on the rookie quarterback, and force him to throw into the teeth of the USC secondary.

3. Be ready for playaction passes and bootlegs.The playaction bootleg was Norm Chow’s favorite play at USC. Carson Palmer used it beautifully in 2002, and even 2001 when he ran into the endzone on a bootleg to beat Oregon State in overtime at the Coliseum. It’s an effective play that forces the defense to bite in one direction, while moving the launch point for a deep ball and allowing receivers to get space downfield. With Schroeder playing his first game since high school, and with an inexperienced offensive line, expect Chow to deploy the bootlegs and keep the Trojans on their toes. If the USC linebackers and safeties can effectively snuff out the playaction and prepare for misdirection, there can be plenty of ungained yards downfield for Hawaii.