Sunday, September 23, 2012
Big day for USC D-line
By Garry Paskwietz
Lane Kiffin made it clear coming into the season that the inexperience along the defensive line was his biggest concern. Judging by what he saw against Cal, it’s safe to say Kiffin feels a lot better about that group right now.
The line was fantastic against the Bears. No number stands out more than seven. That's how many sacks the Trojans recorded in a game, a rare number for any group to hit, and it’s one that should be celebrated. One of the best things about it for the Trojans was how the sacks were so spread out -- Morgan Breslin had three, Leonard Williams had two and George Uko and Wes Horton each had one. The three sacks by Breslin were the most by a USC player since Rey Maualuga did it against Illinois in the 2008 Rose Bowl. Breslin also added 4.5 tackles for loss, the most by a Trojan since Lawrence Jackson in 2007. Williams and Uko each added three tackles for loss of their own.
To say that Breslin has been a revelation would be an understatement. The Trojans really needed someone to step up at end with the loss of Devon Kennard and the injury to Horton, which kept him out of early games. Breslin has filled that role perfectly and been a real sparkplug. Williams isn’t far behind in terms of making an impact, especially considering he is a true freshman, while Breslin is a junior college transfer.
While the play along the line should only improve as Horton continues to get healthy, the Cal game was definitely the best he has looked in game action this year. Greg Townsend Jr. also performed well and Antwaun Woods is proving to be a real physical force at the nose tackle position. You need size and strength at that spot and Woods has it.
Credit needs to be given to Ed Orgeron on this one. He has taken an untested group and quickly turned them into playmakers, much to the benefit of the USC defense.