USC Preview 2006 - Offense
Preview 2006 - USC Trojan Offense
What you need to know ... This isn't going to be anywhere
near the 580-yard, 49 point-per-game juggernaut of last year
losing Matt Leinart, LenDale White, Winston Justice, Dominique
Byrd, Taitusi Lutui, and Reggie Bush, but there's hope for the
explosion to continue, albeit to a lesser degree, thanks to the
nation's best receiving corps, a good foundation on the
offensive line with tackle Sam Baker and center Ryan Kalil, and
more high school All-America prospects than one team should
have. However, there's an outside chance the wheels could come
flying off. Quarterback John David Booty is hardly a sure-thing
to last the season with his gimpy back, but Mark Sanchez is back
on the team after sexual assault charges against him were
dropped. The running back situation
is full of question marks with injuries, youth, and
ineligibility playing havoc with the corps. Even so, this will
be one of the nation's five best attacks if everyone stays
Passing: John David Booty
27-42, 327 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Desmond Reed
19 carries, 137 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Dwayne Jarrett
91 catches, 1,274 yds, 16 TD
Star of the offense: Junior WR Dwayne Jarrett
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior OT
Unsung star on the rise: Junior TE Fred Davis
Best pro prospect: Jarrett
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Jarrett, 2) OT Sam
Baker, 3) C Ryan Kalil
Strength of the offense: Receiving corps
Weakness of the offense:
Offensive line depth, dependable running backs
So who wants to be a superstar? Is
it a foregone conclusion that the starting USC quarterback will
be a Heisman finalist thanks to all the talent around him?
Probably, but who will it be? John David Booty appeared ready to
explode in the starting role before back spasms struck this
spring. Mark Sanchez has next level talent and may someday be
in New York for a Heisman presentation now that he's back on the
team after a sexual assault charge filed by a USC student was
dropped. If Booty
can't get healthy there will be a big-time panic and
lots of crossed fingers hoping for Sanchez is innocent and can
get back in the mix since Mike
McDonald is a limited number three option compared to the other
The key to the unit: Keeping John David Booty healthy
for a full season and hoping Mark Sanchez is the real deal.
Quarterback Rating: 9
- John David Booty, Jr. - 27-42, 327 yds, 64.3%, 3 TD, 2
Booty's career hasn't exactly gone as planned. He was supposed
to get a long look as the starter as a true freshman after
graduating a year early from high school, but some guy named
Leinart went off and won the Heisman and then decided
to stick around another year when he could've been the number
one pick in the draft. Now Booty has a back injury to deal with.
He has a big arm and he certainly knows the system, but he has
to prove he can stay healthy and his decision making has to be
spot on. He was making great progress before his back spasms
struck knocking him out of spring ball.
- Mark Sanchez, RFr.
Don't hand over the plum job to John David Booty just yet as
Sanchez is back after he was arrested on sexual assault
accusations and was been suspended from the team before charges
were dropped. He was
named the 2004 High School Player of the Year by several sources
and has even more upside than Booty with more size and a bigger
arm. He's not the quick decision maker Booty is, but that's only
because he doesn't have the practice experience. Now that he's
back on the team, expect him to
see plenty of time even if he doesn't win the starting job.
- Mike McDonald, Jr.- 1-1, 4 yds, 1 TD
The son of legendary Trojan quarterback Paul McDonald, Michael
earned his way into the mix after walking on in 2003. He's
clearly the number three man in the mix and will only see time
in big-time blowouts like he did last year.
Can you imagine what the running game would've been like
had Reggie Bush and LenDale White stuck around for their senior
years? There might be a slew of high school All-Americans ready
to try to shine, but there's no replacing the two former
superstars. Even with all the promising talent, there's a lot to
be nervous about after hard-luck projected starter Hershel
Dennis injured his knee in spring ball joining Desmond Reed on
the sidelines for the year. To make matters worse, there's a
concern over Michael Coleman's hip. Can Chauncey
Washington really that good now that he's eligible? Are the star freshmen Stafon
Johnson and Emanuel Moody ready to contribute? In other words,
there are plenty of talented options, but there's not a sure
thing in the bunch. Even so, let's go with a projection that one
of the superstar recruits, if not a few, will get the start in
the backfield from day one and become the next big thing.
The key to the unit: The incoming
recruits must be better than advertised.
Running Back Rating: 8
- Chauncey Washington, Jr.
He has the talent to be the starter from day one and will
finally get a chance to see the field after finally getting his
studies in order. Academic issues have kept him on
the sidelines for the last two years and now he's back in the mix
as a major factor with
good size and wide receiver speed. While he has the talent, he
has to show he's over a hamstring injury that bothered him all
summer. He ran for 65 yards his
- Fullback Brandon Hancock, Sr. - 4 carries, 13 yds, 1 TD, 9
catches, 102 yds
Back for what seems like his tenth year in the backfield,
Hancock, who missed all of 2004 with a injuries to his knee and
chest muscle, will take over the spot left by solid all-around
blocker David Kirtman, The 230-pound senior isn't going to see
many carries, but he has nice hands as a receiver and good speed
leading the way in the running game.
- Emmanuel Moody, Fr.
USC took the ultra-talented back away from Texas. Overzealous
recruitniks liked to compare him to a bigger Reggie Bush, but
that's not quite fair. He has the open field moves and the
breakaway speed to be a key player right away.
- Stafon Johnson, Fr.
Considered by some to be the nation's top running back recruit,
Johnson is a 6-2, 210-pound star sprinter who ran for 2,197
yards and 22 touchdowns last year at Dorsey High in Los Angeles.
- Michael Coleman, Soph. - 20 carries, 95 yds, 4.8 ypc, 1 TD
At 235 pounds, Coleman is a powerful between-the-tackles back
who'll try to replace LenDale White. He saw time as a true
freshman, but he struggled with a hip injury and missed the
second half of the season.
- Ryan Powdrell, Sr. - 10 tackles
Listed as the starting tailback coming out of spring ball
because he was the only living, breathing body who could carry
the ball, the 250-pound former linebacker will end up playing
fullback once the true freshmen hit campus. He was a JUCO
All-American before becoming a decent reserve in the middle last
- Whitney Lewis, Jr.
Is this the year Lewis finally lives up to the hype? A superstar
recruit in 2003, he was moved to running back early on and even
saw time at fullback. He was working out with the running backs
this spring and might stay there until things solidify. He missed 2004 due to academic problems,
and never got in the mix last year after hurting his shoulder
early on. He has the talent and the next level speed, but he'll
have to battle with Patrick Turner to see time behind Dwayne
Jarrett if he goes back to receiver.
- Hershel Dennis, Sr.
Could Dennis finally have a little bit of good fortune?
Nope. Considered every bit as talented as LenDale White with a good
start to his career highlighted by a 661-yard 2003 season,
Dennis had some major off-the-field issues and then hurt his
knee in the 2004 Orange Bowl keeping him out of the 2005 season.
Now he'll have to wait until 2007 to get back on the field after
tearing his ACL in spring ball.
- Desmond Reed, Jr. - 19 carries, 137 yds, 7.2 ypc, 1
He's not Reggie Bush, and he won't get his shot to show what he
can do for another year after the knee he injured against Notre
Dame this past season will need another season to heal. Everyone will try to compare the speedy
5-9 back to the Heisman winner, but he's not the same special
runner and he's not as big. Even so, when healthy, Reed can move
with tremendous burst around the edge and great cutting ability.
- Fullback Joey Adewale, Jr.
A special teamer so far, Adewale is still looking to touch the
ball for the first time. He's not as strong as starter Brandon
Hancock, but he's a physical player who'll battle with the even
more physical Ryan Powdrell for playing time.
This group will keep the NFL stocked for years to come.
The entire corps is full of big, fast, talented receivers who
can do it all highlighted by the best returning receiver in
America, Dwayne Jarrett, and the speedy Steve Smith, who's also
All-America caliber. Patrick Turner and Chris McFoy would
provide excellent depth if it was just the two of them, but top
recruit Vidal Hazelton and junior Whitney Lewis help to make the
reserves something truly special. There's a good rotation at
tight end between three good pass catchers.
The key to the unit: Finding enough passes to keep
everyone happy and establishing a go-to tight end.
Receiver Rating: 10
- Dwayne Jarrett, Jr. - 91 catches, 1,274 yds, 14 ypc, 16
Jarrett spent his freshman season being compared to Mike
Williams, and then had scouts thinking he's even better than the
current Detroit Lion after a brilliant sophomore season showing
off hands, the ability to make the acrobatic grab, and
consistency. He had the full trust of Matt Leinart to be the
go-to, crunch time receiver coming through with big play after
big play leading the team with 31 more catches than the number
two receiver, Steve Smith. He has caught passes for 75 yards or
more in 15 of the 26 games he has played in with a whopping 29
touchdowns in two years.
- Steve Smith, Sr. - 60 catches, 957 yds, 15.9 ypc, 5 TD
Smith could've gone pro this year but returned to join Dwayne
Jarrett to form the nation's best 1-2 receiving tandem. He
showed no problems from the broken leg that knocked him out in
2004 with the same speed and quickness he had before the injury.
He's a decent sized target at 6-0 and 195 pounds and has some of
the best wheels on the team.
- Tight end Fred Davis, Jr. - 13 catches, 145 yds, 11.2
ypc, 2 TD
Davis might not be as talented as Domonique Byrd was, but he has
a little bit of starting experience and can be a dangerous
receiver. Recruited as a wide receiver, David bulked up to 245
pounds but still has the same hands and route running ability of
a smaller player.
- Chris McFoy, Sr. - 17 catches, 172 yds, 10.1 ypc
While it's not quite right to call McFoy a possession receiver,
he's used as a reliable midrange target with 40 career catches
for 467 yards. He's a great athlete who isn't afraid to go
across the middle, but he's still looking for his first
- Patrick Turner, Soph. - 12 catches, 170 yds, 14.2 ypc,
The sky's the limit for the ultra-talented sophomore who has all
the makings of the next superstar Trojan receiver. He's 6-5 and
220 pounds with good deep speed. He missed the last two games of
the year with a hamstring problem but is expected to play a
big role this season behind Dwayne Jarrett on the outside.
- Vidal Hazelton, Fr.
Was he worth the wait? The 6-2, 200-pound freshman was
considered to be among the nation's best recruits, and USC got
him after a fierce battle with Penn State, among others. He has
superior deep speed and open field moves with enough talent to
push for a starting spot right away.
Ryan Ting, Sr. - 25 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 broken up
A nickel back for most of last year along with being a key player on
special teams, Ting will move from free safety to flanker where his
speed and tremendous quickness should make him a top all-around
playmaker. He'll also be the main punt returner.
- Tight end Dale Thompson Jr. - 1 catch, 5 yds
Mostly a special teamer so far, Thompson is an athletic 6-4,
255-pound target who'll see plenty of time in two tight end
- Tight end Jimmy Miller, Soph. - 3 catches, 8 yds, 2 TD
A good goal line receiver catching two short scores last year,
the 250-pound Miller should show off his deep speed a little
more this season and become a field-stretching receiver in two
tight end sets.
The line has to overcome the loss of mauling guard Taitusi
Lutui and all-stars Winston Justice and Fred Matua, but there are great
players to rebuild around in All-Americans Sam Baker and Ryan Kalil.
Kalil is a technically sound center who has been the leader up from for
the last two years, while Baker is a rock in pass protection. Watch for
junior Drew Radovich to come on at guard after a hip injury. The return
of Jeff Byers at guard after missing last year with a hip injury is a
big bonus, but there's not a whole bunch of experience on the right side
or in the reserves.
The key to the unit: Quickly determine the pecking
order on the line to quickly establish a starting five that can jell.
Developing reliable backups is also a must.
Offensive Line Rating: 8
- OT Sam Baker, Jr.
Put him on the preseason All-America list. Baker has been the team's
most consistent linemen over the last few seasons and should be even
better now that he's up to 305 pounds. He's strong enough to play guard
if needed, but he's too good a pass protector and too athletic not to be
put at left tackle.
- OG Jeff Byers, Soph.
Byers appears all set to have a breakout season after a solid freshman
year, but a hip injury kept him out all of 2005. He's a strong 300
pounds and should be a rock on the left side next to Sam Baker if he can
hold off Drew Radovich for the job.
- C Ryan Kalil, Sr.
Kalil brings the attitude to the line. He bulked up a bit and should be
in the mix for All-America honors as the 285-pound anchor of the line.
He doesn't make mistakes.
- OG Chilo Rachal, Soph.
A big backup all of last year, the 300-pound sophomore will get the
first look on the right side. He had problems with a knee injury early
in his career, but it didn't bother him last season as he showed big
time promise as a run blocker.
- OT Kyle Williams, Sr.
It'll be up to the 6-6, 295-pound senior to replace Winston Justice on
the right side. He saw time in almost every game last year and was used
in goal line situations as well as in the rotation. He's a good athlete
and is extremely strong in the running game.
- OG Alatini Malu, Jr.
The 340-pound junior is the biggest player on the line and should see
plenty of action on the right side rotating with Chilo Rachal. The
former JUCO transfer got his feet wet a bit last year seeing a little
bit of time mostly on special teams.
- OT Thomas Herring, RFr.
Herring is one of the team's biggest linemen and the largest tackle at
6-6 and 335 pounds. He's trying to come back from a knee injury that
knocked him out all of last year to backup Sam Baker on the left side
and be groomed to be the starter in 2007.
- C Matt Spanos, Jr.
Will Spanos play center or tackle? He's athletic enough to do either,
but he'll likely start out seeing time behind Ryan Kalil at center
adding a little bit more bulk to the inside.
- C Travis Draper, Soph.
Draper will battle with Matt Spanos for time behind Ryan
Kalil in the middle. The 295-pound sophomore spent last year on the
defensive line and could also see time at guard.
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