UCLA Football: Previewing Southern Cal - Part 2 - Offense

Norm Hall

We take a look at Southern Cal's offense and point out their key players.

As highlighted in Part I of the Southern Cal preview, the Trojans have a pretty healthy offense. The Trojans rank 27th in total offense, 17th in passing offense, averaging just over 303 ypg, and 65th in rushing offense, with nearly 160 ypg. However, they have turned the ball over 26 times this year, including 7 interceptions in the last three weeks.

Quarterbacks

Matt Barkley (6'2 220 lbs Sr.) was a preseason Heisman favorite before the season started, but his senior campaign simply hasn't gone as well as anticipated. No word if his balls or more or less deflated than last season. He has thrown for 2,972 yards and completed 64.8% of his passes with 33 TD's and 7 INT's, but he's also thrown 13 interceptions after only throwing 7 last season.

After Barkley, Southern Call has a couple of freshman, Max Wittek (6'4 235 lbs Fr.) and Cody Kessler (6'1 215 lbs. Fr.) who tend to change jerseys mid-game.

Running Backs

Silas Redd (5'10 200 lbs Jr.) and Curtis McNeal (5'7 180 lbs Sr.) lead the underrated rushing attack. Redd leads the team with 732 yards and 9 TD's. Some of you may remember him for being the guy Souther Cal bought poached immediately after Kiffin went on the records saying they wouldn't target Penn St. players.

Receivers

The most talented group at USC is their receiving corps. Robert Woods (6'1 185 lbs Jr.) and Marquise Lee (6'0 190 lbs So.) are both dynamic receivers that will be early first round picks. They both will be used all over the field, including the backfield, in the return game, and, in Lee's case, even on defense. Lee leads the team with 98 receptions for 1447 yards and 13 TD's. Woods adds 61 receptions for 653 yards and 10 TD's. Interestingly, those numbers are nearly identically flip-flopped from last season, when Woods had the higher production.

Nelson Agholar (6'1 185 lbs Fr.) is the third receiver, but he is a clear #3 option with only 16 receptions for 291 yards. Agholar had a big game against Oregon and has a lot of talent, but Barkley does tend to lock onto Lee and Woods.

At TE, USC has a pair of very good athletes. Randall Telfer (6'4 230 lbs So.) and Xavier Grimble (6'6 245 lbs So.) are both extremely talented and cannot be forgotten in this offense. Telfer has 9 catches for 74 yards and Grimble adds 25 for 273 yards. Grimble has 5 touchdowns and Telfer has 3.


Offensive Line

The biggest question mark for Southern Cal's offense is the line, but the group probably gets more negative attention than it deserves. The Trojans have only allowed 14 sacks all season, and are averaging over 5 ypc on the ground. They did struggle against Stanford, giving up 4 sacks and 12 tackles for loss, and they struggled early against Utah, but they have been otherwise very solid.

The group is led by C Khaled Holmes (6'3 305 lbs Sr.), who missed the Stanford game due to injury. He's projected as a fairly high pick in next year's draft. He's joined by LG Marcus Martin (6'3 325 lbs So.) and RG John Martinez (6'2 300 lbs Jr.) inside. Abe Markowitz (6'1 310 lbs Sr.) is listed as an "OR" starter at LG.

Outside, Max Tuerk (6'6 285 lbs Fr.) and Aundray Walker (6'6 300 lbs So.) split the LT position, and Kevin Graf (6'6 295 lbs Jr.) starts at RT.

That concludes Part 2 of the Southern Cal preview. Feel free to fire away with any additional thoughts and comments, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for Part 3 of the preview.

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