Our lovely SBN Pac-10 blogs have organized a weekly roundtable this year. While I'm definitely late to the party, I've finally found the time to crank one of these out. Here we go.....
(Oh, and thanks to Conquest Chronicles for hosting this week.)
One: Let's start off with a conference wide question. With USC's loss to Oregon State on Thursday, is the myth (which I never believed) of USC and the 9 Dwarves finally shattered? Does this game help give the Pac-10 more credibility nationally? If not, why are those anti-Pac-10 bigots wrong?
Um, no. I think USC is the dominant team in this conference, but as the Beavers showed on Thursday, they can be beat. They're in a league of their own as far as recruiting, prestige, and (usually) winning games. All it took was for someone to get under their skin.
If anything, I think the game makes the Pac-10 look worse because we no longer have the #1 team in the nation. The Pac-10 is down as a whole this year, no doubt, and this affirms that hypothesis. It seems like every team deserves a freebie this year or a mulligan, if you will.
Two: Now that we are 5 weeks into the season, everyone should have a pretty good feel of how their team is performing. Tell us one or two things (good or bad, on offense or defense) that you're seeing that has surprised you about the performance of your team.
Um... Jacquizz Rodgers? Is that acceptable? He went from high school superstar to Pac-10 backup to National hero in a few months. That's definitely a surprise.
Other than that, it seems like we still don't know how good this OSU team is. We know what they're capable of, but how good, truley, are they? We'll find out soon, I hope.
Two-A: More important, how much more of a snapshot do you need to really see where your team is headed this season?
More than what we've been given this far. We looked bad at Stanford and Penn State, but Hawaii went well, and so did USC. Yes, that's a two game winning streak, but I still need to see more consistency.
Three: As evidence of Thursday night's big Oregon St. win, it's pretty clear that the Beavers have USC's number up in Corvallis. Who's got your team's number in the conference, and why?
I don't like playing Cal at home, or UCLA. I really don't like playing UCLA. But you're right... we do have USC's number! The Beavers are 3-1 all time versus the Trojans when playing in a stadium named after a Fine Foods company. And the time we lost, we didn't lose that bad. (Remember the Fog Bowl, anyone?)
Four: Everyone has a bad loss so far this year, even if it's just one. What did that one loss expose about your team, and how has your team bounced back?
The Stanford and Penn State losses exposed that we prefer to play on the road, and we've responded by winning two straight game at home.
But really, the Stanford and Penn State games confirmed that Mike Riley is going to start slow every year no matter what. We keep trying to prove this theory wrong, but it just isn't going to happen. However, we need a win against Utah, or a lot of what we jsut accomplished by beating the Trojans goes down the drain.
Five: To me, play-calling from play to play is over emphasized, when adjustments over the course of the game are key. How are your coaches doing throughout the course of games? Are they doing an adequate job of making the necessary adjustments, or do you feel they are hampering the players in their efforts?
When you can run the same play (strong side zone) 30 times in one game and end up beating USC, you're job is easy and you're definitely doing something right...
The playcalling this year has been adequate. There have been only a handful of plays I didn't like, and a handful of pass/run calls I've questioned. But hindsight is 20/20. Langsdorf has been doing a good job. It seems as if teams have scouted the fly sweep a lot better this season- it seems as if it doesn't work nearly as well this season as it did last. Either that, or the coaches got so tired of James that they moved on to his younger brother.
I loved the play (saw it a few times last Thursday, CV3000 commented about it) where James goes in motion, fakes the fly sweep, then takes out a defensive end or someone coming off the edge. There was one time early in the game where Quizz got nine yards on a run that should have been stuffed in the backfield. Good stuff.