Building around Robert Woods
September, 11, 2011
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
That might have been the quietest 100-yard day from a receiver ever.
USC sophomore wideout Robert Woods caught eight passes for 102 yards in Saturday's 23-14 win over Utah, but nobody was talking about it afterward. Even during the game, Everybody seemed to be talking about other things, like the return of Marc Tyler or, later, Matt Kalil's field-goal block -- everybody except Utah, of course, who keyed in on Woods from the beginning of the game and barely let up until late.
"There were less chances," Woods said after Saturday's game. "They had the corner outside of me, the safety over the top and the linebacker flying under. After a point in time, they stopped doing that and let me play a little bit and I think that's where my catches came from."
Of course, all of this was expected. Woods caught a school-record 17 balls for 177 yards in the Trojans' season opener last week against Minnesota. The double-teams were going to be there since that game ended.
Woods said Saturday's game was "just a regular game," as opposed to last week's, which he said was "pretty amazing."
The question now is whether USC can continue to win without Woods being the entire focal point of its offense. The Trojans started to do some of that Saturday but couldn't complete the effort. Only one player other than Woods -- tight end Xavier Grimble -- caught more than two passes, and Grimble is probably in Lane Kiffin's doghouse after his third-quarter fumble led to a Utah touchdown.
"We knew it was coming," Woods said of the Utah defensive strategy. "We had the game plan for that.
"We knew it was going to be a big tight end game for Xavier Grimble and the ground game was there too."
They may have had the game plan for that, but the game plan clearly didn't work all that well. Marqise Lee, the other starter, caught only two passes. Brandon Carswell, the No. 3 guy, caught just one, and Rhett Ellison didn't even get one grab.
The Trojans need more production from more players, because the coverage Utah draped around Woods on Saturday isn't a one-time thing. It's going to be a weekly affair.