USC Football: Five Things to Watch vs. Hawaii


Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

As the Trojans kick off the 2012 football season in the Coliseum against the Hawaii Warriors, there are five things that we need to watch for this week.

1. How will Lane Kiffin balance the carries for Curtis McNeal and Penn State transfer Silas Redd?  In conjunction with this one, with two studs in the backfield and two studs out at wide receiver, how balanced with the attack through the air and on the ground?  There is only 1 ball and a lot of talent to give touches to.

2 With Matt Kalil taking his Secret Service like blind side protection of Matt Barkley to the NFL, how well will sophomore Aundrey Walker transition into this role?  It is important for Barkley to feel comfortable and trust that he is protected in his blind spot.

3. For all intents and purposes the Trojans have a completely new defensive line.  Between the four starters (Wes Horton, J.R. Tavai, Antwaun Woods, and George Uko), there were seven starts between them in 2011 and all seven came from Horton.  How will this group perform against the run?  Will they get up field and play on the other side of the line of scrimmage?  Will they get pressure on the quarterback and dirty up his uniform?  It is extremely important for this group to be successful this season.

4. Is Lamar Dawson healthy after missing much of fall camp with torn calf muscle?  The Trojans defense is built on speed and Dawson needs to play sideline to sideline and get down the field in pass drops.  He plays a very important role on this defense and has the added pressure of wearing jersey number 55.

5. Who will step up into the 3rd receiver role?  Will it be De’Von Flournoy who has had an outstanding spring and fall camp or will it be George Farmer who is the highly touted recruit from the class of 2011?  It is very likely that we can see this role filled in a committee type fashion, at least early in the season as each player tries to separate from the other.

The answers to these questions will begin to be answered in the Coliseum at 4:30 pm this Saturday.