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Carroll not fretting about USC defense

11/18/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

USC coach Pete Carroll doesn't see any reason for massive scheme or personnel changes after Stanford rushed for 202 against the Trojans previously impenetrable defense last weekend.

He said it came down to two busted plays.

"They had a 40-yard scramble and they had a 40-yard play where guys missed tackles -- that's it," Carroll said. "It's nothing more than that. It's no mystery or nothing."

Two plays gained 80 yards -- Carroll termed them "freebies" -- while the other 38 netted 122 (3.2 per rush).

That's not as dominant as Carroll would like, but Stanford and tailback Toby Gerhart have run well against just about whoever they've faced (other Arizona State and TCU the second and third game of the season).

"Give [Gerhart] credit for a good run -- he's done that all year -- but we had four of our top guys bounce off the guy," Carroll said.

Stanford's 367 total yards did drop USC from No. 1 to No. 2 in the nation in total defense behind TCU (222.5 yards per game), though the Trojans 3.52 yards per play is No. 1 by a significant margin (.28 yards). USC also fell to sixth in run defense (90.2 yards per game), but remained No. 1 in scoring (8.3 ppg).

So there's no panic yet as the Trojans head into a bye week before facing Notre Dame on Nov. 29.

"They earned them -- I'm not taking anything away from them," Carroll said. "But there's no cause for distress."