Watching the Red Sox start their World Series run #SweetCaroline #tbt
83 years ago today, the University of Southern California unveiled Tommy Trojan, officially named the Trojan Shrine. Here, sculptor Roger Noble Burnham works on the statue, which has become a campus landmark.
Courtesy of the USC Libraries - California Historical Society Collection: http://bit.ly/11uXDXp
Still looking great!
Kobe Bryant dunking all over Josh Smith.
Who’s ready for baseball?
Scenes from Dr. Jerry Buss’ Memorial Service: ”We are here to celebrate a diamond of a life that was of great value” —Phil Jackson on Jerry Buss
Great speech by Phil
I was listening to Kobe’s interview on ESPN Radio about the Lakers new winning ways and the sudden change in the offense. I ended up taking notes. In summary, Kobe decided to slow down the pace, implement more post play, and facilitate more.
Obviously, Lakers don’t have the personnel to run and gun, so slowing down works to their strengths. Kobe attacking the basket forces the defense to collapse on him and he get can more players involved by passing at that point. More post play means more high percentage shots and getting Pau more involved. And in terms of the Lakers defense, it means less run outs for the opposing team off of rebounding long jumpers.
- Figuring out how to best utilize all the pieces and put them into proper alignment
- Needed to minimize possessions
- Too many possessions puts a strain on defense
- Defense would look good and then have lulls
- Played that role in triangle
- In triangle, he was a conductor
- In this system, he spoon feeds people more
- Slowing pace down plays to their advantage
- Can control pace with post play
- After the Heat game, Kobe realized what they needed to change
- They were trapping Nash
- Needed to create conflict and confrontation to get Dwight/Pau/D’Antoni to adjust
- Wanted to add to his legacy
- Kobe’s emergence was a threat
- Their conflict created an energy and got them on the same page
- Experience helped Kobe sympathize with Dwight
Sharing the Ball Narrative
- Kobe shooting a lot is an easy crutch for people to use
- It has more to do with getting other players to bring the energy
- Has a great attitude
- The teams needs his team attitude
Found the Needed Changes
- Pieces have fallen and sorted themselves out
- It’s about execution now
A major point of contention with USC fans this past season was Lane Kiffin’s play calling. While there certainly are some issues that can be raised, it wasn’t the sort of problem that some make it out to be.
The real problem? The offensive line.
We saw a line that was inconsistent as a unit and from player to player. The short yardage running game just wasn’t there when USC needed it. An inability to handle the pass rush led to ugly results at times. The struggles forced Kiffin to use the tight ends as blockers more and Barkley to get the ball out quicker. These are smart adjustments to cover up deficiencies, but they take away a lot of creativity with play calling.
Looking at the stats, it seems like the offensive line had a good year.
- 5.0 rushing yards/attempt (3rd in conference)
- 17 sacks allowed (1st in conference)
- -111 sacked yards lost (3rd in conference)
Anyone watching the games knows USC wasn’t the third best running team in the Pac-12 and wasn’t the best in conference at fending off pass rushers. If they had been, we would have seen a much more effective run game on the goal line and less whiffs on blocking pass rushers. As mentioned, the tight ends and a quicker passing game were used to work around these issues.
When guys like Marcus Martin, Aundrey Walker, and Max Tuerk start on the offensive line early in their careers, the natural reaction is to comment on how good they must be. But anytime you’re starting a true freshmen and two true sophomores on the offensive line, it’s a bad sign. Ideally, you want offensive lineman not to get serious playing time until their third year. That gives them time to get stronger, swap bad weight for good weight, and work on technique. Three young guys starting is a reflection on recruiting from 2008 and 2009. You would hope there would be 3rd and 4th year lineman from those recruiting cycles to step in and give you starters who are physically and mentally mature. Marcus Martin, Aundrey Walker, and Max Tuerk will all be very good as they get older, but their place in the starting lineup reflects that the offensive line was rebuilding in 2012.
As for the future, Kiffin’s recruiting shows a shift toward an offensive line with some serious size. We’re talking a line full of guys well over 300 pounds. Max Tuerk is currently under 300 but has the frame to go well over it. Marcus Martin and Aundrey Walker are over 300. Redshirt freshmen Zach Banner and Jordan Simmons are well over 300. Verbal commits Khaliel Rodgers and Jordan Poland are well over 300. Verbal commits Casey Tucker and Toa Lobendahn are in the 270s now with frames to put on a lot more weight by the time they get to USC. All this size is a shift for an offensive line that may have averaged around 290 in the past years.
The goal would be a unit can that drive the defense off the line. This facilitates a power run game that gives the running backs time to work and find a hole. *A contributing factor to Adrian Peterson’s amazing 2012 season was that Christian Ponder handed him the ball deep in the backfield. This gave Peterson more time to find a hole. Once he gets to the second level, all bets are off.* If USC can get back to dominating with the run, they can really attack defenses with play action. Think Alabama’s offense except with a much more dynamic passing game that uses more talented quarterbacks and receivers.
The pieces are coming into place but rebuilding an offensive line takes time.