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Defensively Speaking: Iowa

Some sights are just meant to be unseen and this game is one of them. I would add that some things need to be unheard too. The meaningless post-game comments by Helton certainly qualify as noises to be unheard. Respectively Coach Helton, what do you know about winning championships? What do you know about preparing a Trojan coaching staff and team to play real Trojan football? The data all suggest that you and this staff (whoever is left) doesn’t understand the cost necessary to prepare your team to defeat any opponent other than a .500 or worse team and even then, that is no guarantee. Go up against a quality opponent, we all know what the outcome is going to be about 89.5% of the time…a loss ranging from disappointing to humiliating.

The defensive scheme was the same but with a halftime adjustment to move to a zone look (mostly “quarters”). The summary of the defensive performance is this:

  • The linebacker trio of John Houston, EA (Palaie Gaoteote) and Kana’i Mauga accounted for 4 solo tackles out of a total of 35 solo tackles made. Not good.
  • The secondary trio of Talanoa Hufanga, Greg Johnson and Isaiah Pola-Mao accounted for 17 solo tackles or almost half. Seems that our team and in particular our interior folks had some tackling issues.
  • Both sacks were by secondary players (Hufanga and Johnson). Seems that our interior folks had more than just tackling issues. They got blocked…a lot.
  • Iowa game-planned based on our obvious tendencies. Use 22, 12 and an occasional 00 personnel frequently. Add in motion to confuse our man coverage assignments. Power block run plays on the inside. Use fly sweeps, reverses and perimeter run game to trap the DEs. Neutralize the interior seven defenders and force secondary to stop the run. Attack weak man coverage with seam passes and perimeter throws. Iowa lives off Time-of-Possession (TOP) football. This game is an example of why.
  • The first four possessions were Iowa touchdowns (excluding the kickoff return for a TD, btw). Three of these four scores were on the ground and consumed 25:01 minutes in TOP while beating down the defense.
  • Special team play was net horrible. Giving up a KO touchdown, a missed field goal and short punts are not offset by an onside kick recovery (game highlight for USC).
  • Shout out to Hufanga for an excellent game and effort. He is a football player.

This game and many this year have been tough to write about. To see the decline in our football program which denigrates all the former players, coaches and loyal fans is deflating, to be generous. I honestly don’t know if real Trojan football will ever be played again. I do know that with coach Helton you get integrity…but not toughness or championships. I know for fact that you can accomplish all three outcomes. We’ve done it for generations, just not this one.

Kevin Bruce

Kevin earned his MBA and BS in Business Administration/Finance & Econometrics from the University of Southern California, where he also played four years of varsity football, serving as co-captain and playing in three Rose Bowls. Kevin’s college honors included All-American (AP-Honorable Mention), All Pac-8 Conference - Linebacker (1st) and Academic All-American, two NCAA National Championships (football), NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship recipient and Trojan Diamond Award-outstanding graduating senior. He is a member of Football Writers Association of America and is a contributor to WeAreSC.com.

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