Monday, September 22, 2008

The Pac-10: Week 4 in review

It has been said by those who don't anything about west coast football for years, but this season they're right - It's USC and everyone else. Outside of the Trojans, the Pac-10 is not good. To date, they are 12-12 in nonconference games.

Here's what we know:
If you can throw the football, go walk on at Oregon
The Duck's coaching staff has become a triage unit, trying to keep its quarterbacks upright. Pac-10 teams have had a lot of trouble with quarterback injuries (UCLA, Wash St., Oregon State), but none more than Oregon. Seven times in the last nine games Duck quarterbacks have been knocked out of games. Saturday against Boise St., Oregon added another one to the count as a late hit took out Jeremiah Masoli with a concussion. When it became apparent that 4th stringer Chris Harper couldn't throw the football and the Ducks trailing 37-13 in the fourth quarter, Coach Mike Bellotti sent in true freshman Darron Thomas into the game. He led the Ducks to three quick scores, but came up just short.

But the Ducks didn't lose because of their decaying quarterback situation. They lost because their defense - the supposed strength of the team - gave up 37 points to a freshman quarterback with four new starters on the offensive line. Kellen Moore passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns. The Ducks certainly missed starting cornerback Walter Thurmond III (out with groin injury), but their failure to make adjustments after getting beat deep repeatedly was inexcusable.

Arizona State must find a way to run the ball
The Sun Devils could only muster four rushing yards against Georgia Saturday night and are ranked 9th in conference in rushing with 89 yards per game. The Bulldogs dared ASU to run the ball, and had the Devils been able to reciprocate, they might have made a game of it. Especially in a game where Georgia played sloppy, committing 104 yards in penalties. If ASU can't rush the ball, every team will continue to play a Cover 2 defense with the safeties deep to stop the pass first, and Rudy Carpenter will get killed. Arizona State has a bye to sort things out and get Keegan Herring healthy before facing Cal in two weeks.

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