USC Football: 3 Things We Need to See vs. Arkansas State


While at times this offseason it seemed as though the USC football season would be all talk and no action, we are finally here at Week 1. Everyone starts on neutral, with everyone’s record at 0-0. The rest will be decided on the field, where it should be.

RELATED: 10 Best Season Opening Wins in USC Football History

In the case of the Trojans, the season opener could not come soon enough. While there have been good and bad reports from fall camp, we will now be able to see for ourselves what the Trojans can do on the field.

Is this the year when the Trojans reclaim their pace with the elite of college football? That is a question only they can answer, and they will start to answer that question Saturday night on Pac-12 Network against the Arkansas State Red Wolves

The following are three things that will be vital beginning in game one:

1) Commitment to the no-huddle, hurry-up offense

While we saw the no-huddle, hurry-up in last year’s season opener against Fresno State, the Trojans need to use it again this year.

Cody Kessler and the offense in general can be a scoring machine, but in order to do that there needs to be a commitment to going uptempo the entire game and never slowing down.

With Clay Helton at the helm of play-calling, this should not be an issue, but it must begin in game one and continue forward.

2) Aggressive, attacking defense

Last year the Trojans ran a 3-4 defense when the players available were more suited to run a 4-3 scheme. In many ways, that affected blitzing because the linebackers were often not big enough to shed blocks and get into the backfield.

That is no longer the case, as the linebackers available in 2015 are in the 230-pound-plus range, with players like Porter Gustin almost reaching the size of defensive ends.

The secondary has improved in man coverage, so this is the time for the defense to pin its ears back and play in the opponents backfield.

Simply put, if the Trojans cannot be aggressive against Arkansas State, why believe they will be aggressive against Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA?

3) Developing the back ups

Don’t kid yourself; unless the Trojans show up in the state of mind familiar to Steve Sarkisian at Salute to Troy, this could be a blowout. That gives USC the chance to develop its reserves in an actual game.

However, this is not an excuse to take the foot of the gas. The reserves need to have the entire playbook open to them so that they are comfortable with it in an emergency situation.

Specifically, Max Browne needs to be allowed to throw the ball and lead the offense as though he were the starter, since he will be next year. The defense also needs to stay aggressive, and attempt to shut out the Red Wolves if possible.

This season can be one to remember for the right reasons, but if the same mistakes as last year are made, the Trojan fans are in for a long ride. Here’s to Week 1.

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