USC: Toney Clemons

Film study: Colorado

August, 21, 2012
Here’s the ninth post in our “film study” series.

Every other day, almost, we’re watching one of the games USC played last season and putting up a set of pertinent-to-this-year notes, going of course in chronological order from the Minnesota season opener to the UCLA season finale. At the end, we’ll have one last post with our overall takeaways from the re-watching. By then, it’ll be the week of this year’s opener.

We’ve already done USC’s 19-17 win over Minnesota, 23-14 win over Utah, 38-17 win over Syracuse, 44-23 loss to Arizona State, 48-41 win over Arizona, 30-9 win over Cal, 31-17 win over Notre Dame and 56-48 triple-overtime loss to Stanford. Here, now, are our five notes — four big things and a bunch of little ones — from USC’s 42-17 win over Colorado on Nov. 4, 2011.

An all-new defense

The numbers in the USC back seven on Colorado's first drive were confusing. There was a No. 13, a No. 27, No. 19 and a No. 55 all lined up on the opening play of the game, and none of them had started a single game in the 2011 season before this one.

Of course, Dion Bailey was out with a concussion, Jawanza Starling was out with an unspecified injury, T.J. McDonald was suspended for the first half and Chris Galippo was benched. So Tre Madden, Marshall Jones, Drew McAllister and Lamar Dawson stepped in, to varying levels of success.

Ranking those four players' performances, Madden would be first, McAllister second, Dawson third and Jones fourth. Madden, in particular, represented a very nominal drop-off from Bailey, the normal strongside linebacker. He didn't make any big impact plays, but he was rarely caught out of position.

McAllister has a reputation as a feast-or-famine defender, but he didn't play to that in this game. Dawson, who had played the most of the four entering into the game, did what he usually did, getting into good position but not necessarily making good plays. Jones' play left a lot to be desired.

It's telling, also, that Galippo played the majority of the second half at middle linebacker. Sure, the outcome was decided by that point, but if the coaching staff was pleased with Dawson's play, they would've kept him on the field to gain experience.

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C. Kessler452315382639
B. Allen27614895.411
J. Davis1295954.64
N. Agholor104131312.612
J. Smith5472413.45