Tale Of The Tape: #1 USC Vs. Hawaii
- CoachingLane Kiffin is not well liked, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He has assembled a great staff and recruited as well as anyone, putting his team in position to win a national championship after a two-year postseason ban.Norm Chow returns to his home state, where he will be a head coach for the first time in his long coaching career. Chow has been a coach on the offensive side of the ball since the mid-1970s, most notably serving as USC’s offensive coordinator from 2001-2004.
- OffenseQuarterback Matt Barkley returned for his senior season presumably because he has a shot at the Heisman and a national championship. The Trojans’ have a wide receiver duo as good as any in the country in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee.Hawaii has been airing it out for years—its passing offense has ranked in the top 12 the past three seasons. With Chow, an offensive wizard, at the helm, expect more of the same.
- DefenseThere are depth concerns given USC’s scholarship limits. But the secondary is extremely talented and the unit as a whole only needs to tread water given the points the Trojans should put up.This has not been Hawaii’s strength in recent years and it must improve in 2012. The unit is young but has enough talent to hang with most WAC opponents. USC, of course, is nothing like most WAC opponents.
- Special TeamsThe Trojans return both kicking specialists. Andre Heidari is 50 for 50 kicking extra points; he hopes to have even more opportunities in 2012.Sophomore Tyler Hadden split the placekicking duties last year but he’ll have the job all to himself this season. His 50 percent success rate on field goals doesn’t inspire much confidence, but expect improvement with his rookie year behind him.
Not too many first-year head coaches have been dealt tougher opening games. Chow’s team is simply overmatched by a USC squad expected to contend for a national title. A lot of points will be scored, but many more will be scored by the Trojans.