Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Orgeron about to find out about his line
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- USC Trojans defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is anxious for Saturday's game against the Stanford Cardinal.
Anxious because his Trojans will be going against the best offensive line they've faced this season. Anxious because his unit stumbled severely in the second half of last week's win over Syracuse. And anxious because he doesn't how many healthy players he'll have suiting up against a Stanford offensive line that still boasts some talent after losing two key players from last season.
So how's the first real test of the 2012 season going to go for Orgeron's crew?
"We're fixing to find out," he said Wednesday, smiling big. "But we'll give it hell, I know that."
Defensive end Morgan Breslin and defensive tackle George Uko led the USC defensive line to a superb first-half performance against Syracuse last week. But when key ends J.R. Tavai and Wes Horton exited the game following the hour-long weather delay at the half, Breslin got overwhelmed some and the Trojans weren't the same.
The Orange scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives out of the break, with a Breslin to Dion Bailey tipped interception ending the only other one.
"They started making adjustments and we started making mistakes," Orgeron said, going on to call it inexcusable. "We didn't play as consistent as we should've, and we missed some plays."
Breslin, the juco transfer who has been the surprise of the season for USC, according to coach Lane Kiffin, declined to talk to the media on Wednesday upon the conclusion of practice. He has declined all on-the-record interview attempts since joining the team in January.
But Orgeron spoke a little bit for him, saying the biggest thing Breslin still has to work on is awareness in not over-pursuing on run plays because of his dominant speed off the edge.
That has happened a few times already this season and, if not corrected appropriately, could lead to trouble across the defense later in the year.
Breslin will start Saturday against the Cardinal, and Orgeron will be counting on another dominant performance. Uko and fellow defensive tackle Antwaun Woods have played well enough to provide hope going forward.
Horton and Tavai's injury situations can't be disclosed this week after Saturday's injuries, but, regardless of whether they play, their coach is expecting a big day from his unit -- unlike in the Syracuse game.
"We've got some young guys who know when to take over the game and when not to," Orgeron said. "And we didn't do it (in New Jersey.)"
The hope, of course, is that they'll do it Saturday.