Harrell on how opponents are defending the USC offense ErikMcKinney Administrator Staff Member Joined: Apr 17, 2018 Messages: 5,894 Likes Received: 14,765 Nov 25, 2020 #1 This morning I asked Graham Harrell about the differences he saw in the way Utah defended them this year compared to last year, since Utah was the first team this season that brought back the same defensive coordinator from 2019. "Last year, and I don’t know if it was because of the success we had against the man coverage they played on us last year or if it was because they have a really young defense, but we went in expecting them to play a decent amount of man just because that’s kind of in their DNA and besides short-yardage situations, I don’t know if we got a single snap of it. A lot more two safeties than we expected, and zone coverage. But again, having no tape we didn’t know what to expect so we kind of expected they’d do what they do. In the past they’ve shown that man coverage is knid of who they are and they didn’t play us in hardly any man coverage. It was a lot different than it was the previous year, a little bit different than what we expected. But I thought our guys did a decent job adjusting." I then asked if he saw this becoming a blueprint for how teams will play them. "Utah, I don’t think they’re just dialing up a new defense that they’ve never done, but I do think that we do see a lot of softer coverage it seems and dropping a lot of people into coverage has kind of been something a lot of people have tried against us. We don’t see a ton of man, which surprised me from Utah. A lot of teams, that’s just not who they are. Utah in the past that’s who they’ve been. But losing nine starters I think from last year’s defense and a lot of those guys to the NFL – I don’t know if that had more to do with us or more to do with them having as many young guys and as many inexperienced guys as they had on that defense." Harrell was also asked about the drop in yards per attempt this season compared to last. "I would love to throw it down the field, but I think that everyone is playing us to try to prevent that and I don’t blame them. I think that’s what everyone’s game plan is against us, or what it’s been against us. That doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to be that way, but I think that one of the things that most teams try to do is take away explosives and that’s not a bad idea. Utah came out and tried to play a lot of man coverage last year and we threw the ball over the top of their head. This year they didn’t play a single snap of man coverage. They were playing extremely soft and their whole game plan was to not get beat deep. I’ve been proud of the way guys have continued to battle and take what the defense gives them. If they’re not going to let you throw it over their heads, you’re going to need to check it down, go on longer drives, going to have to run the football, and that’s what we’ve been able to do. I think that’s what most peoples’ game plans are. I would love for people to come play tight and let us throw it over their head, but I think people are afraid of us doing that and so therefore their game plan is to play soft, don’t let them throw it over your head and try to keep everything in front of you." Troy70 and gubo&palanka like this.