COLLEGE FOOTBALL: These Trojans nothing like those Trojans
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#1 Sep 22, 2009
With a body of work of three games, here's what we know:
1. The offense, which was supposed to be this team's strength, is clumsy, disjointed and ineffective. It lacks a running game despite having a Kentucky Derby field of thoroughbreds, all of whom "could be starting at any other college in the country". One only needs to remember that lad who went to Florida two years ago and promptly disappeared to realize the silliness of that argument. The receivers are pedestrian and the offensive scheme does little to exploit what skills they do have. Bates should spend some time studying how New England used its All-Pro resources to assure that another USC product, Matt Cassel, would be wildly successful in his breakout season.
2. The defense, which lost an NFL roster of players, and was supposed to be the "weak link", has shown up every week and exceeded all expectations. Props to them.
3. Special teams have largely been an afterthought during the run-up to year-after-year Rose Bowl appearances. When you're struggling to maintain ball control, you darn well better have a power punter and shutdown special teams players. That is clearly not the case. Not a promising outlook when you still have to face California, Oregon and even Notre Dame at their houses.
4. OK...the real question. Barkley, Corp or Mustain? All are "All Americans" of some ilk. Candidly, they all look like they're from Central Casting (though not as much as Barkley). Of the three, Mustain has the experience (ironically his first TD pass was against USC) and is probably more likely to generate a North-South passing game because he's actually done it before. He should know the system - all of it - having been Sanchez's understudy. Washington State in the Coliseum would be a great place to find out. If he works out, redshirt Barkley. He's a dynamic kid with a huge upside but, like Joba Chamberlin, could be rushed into a role smart money says he's probably not ready to fill week-in and week-out. If it doesn't work out, build a package that takes advantage of Barkley's current skill set. Corp looks and plays like a "game manager". His ability to run doesn't add anything to the moribund offense. Running backs are expected to run - and can't. Corp is not the answer to that problem, nor should he be expected to be.
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