Second viewing thougths and grade report: USC
This was a frustrating game to watch back and not just because of the inexplicably bad officiating. [In addition to the poor replay decisions, there were several bad spots and as noted on the broadcast, they were slow on the whistles -- which is very dangerous.] The frustration came from how close this could have gone the other way. Some of the mistakes were on Shinskie, but then some of our best like Harris, Kuechly and Claiborne also made errors.
One season into his career and I don't think we know what we have in Dave Shinskie. This game didn't clear up anything. There are moments when he makes some really nice throws. His pass to Jarvis between the zones stands out. Yet other passes were late or one-hopers or forced. He also lost focus on a shotgun snap and still is not using his outlets and checkdowns. The good news is that he looked good with a moving pocket and on a few runs. He also is willing to stand in the pocket and make a throw (I just wish the throws were better). His scatter shot throws in the second half limited the offense. Let's hope he takes his game to the next level next year.
Harris' fumble was a killer. I know the ball was slick and field was sloppy, but in the red zone you have to hold on. I also wish he would hand off on occasion out of the bazooka/shotgun. On the positive side, he made some nice cuts and ran through a bunch of USC tacklers. McCluskey was good in limited action. I wish he had been healthy all year.
Rich Gunnell might have moved up a few draft boards with his performance. Good runs, good hands and surprising speed. Larmond didn't get many chances but fought hard for some tough catches. Jarvis started strong but had a few passes he should have pulled in.
The offensive line played well. The inside guys like Tennant, Claiborne and Richman all looked good. When USC had success it was on stunts on the outside. Lapham struggled a few times. Castonzo was solid.
The Tight Ends blocked well but weren't involved in the passing game all that much.
Shinskie wasn't good but Tranq didn't help him much in the second half. We waited too long to get the focus back on the running game and we called too many pass that were too dependent on Shinskie making good throws and good reads. Why not simplify with quick slants or quick outs? Why not more throws to the backs or TEs? Putting all these long, slow developing plays on Shinskie are high risk, high reward. Would they use that sort of scheme with a 18 year old against USC?
The defensive line didn't make a ton of plays but they also didn't get pushed around. Solid effort overall. Scafe was good. Albright showed more burst and speed than he has all season. Newman played really well. Giles made a few plays. Ramella was quiet. The others DLinemen didn't see as much action.
The LBs made great plays yet all had major mistakes. Morrissey and Kuechly both missed tackles on the first TD. Morrissey failed to wrap up a few other times. All the LBs blew their coverage assignment on the second TD. McLaughlin missed some tackles. LeGrande was ok.
Although we allowed 350 passing yards, I thought the DBs played well. Davis had a pick and some nice tackles. Bowman made some solid tackles and made a great read on his INT. Despite the cushion, Gause was solid in coverage. Rollins wasn't thrown at much, but did well supporting the run and making good tackles. Fletcher and Johnson got on the field but weren't as involved in the action.
Special Teams: C
Stevie missed a PAT. We were ultra conservative on our kick offs and punt returns.
Smith had some nice runbacks on the kick returns.
The defensive scheme was conservative and worked (for the most part). The special teams decisions were conservative and didn't cost BC (for the most part). Yet surprisingly the offensive scheme had many aggressive throws in the second half and probably cost us. In general, it seemed like Spaz had the guys mentally and physically ready. Things just didn't go our way. All our other losses this year could be blamed on coaching. This one was partially just some back luck. Now let's hope Spaz can start a new bowl streak next year.