Preview 2018: USC Trojans. Get To The College Football Playoff Already

Preview 2018: USC Trojans. Get To The College Football Playoff Already

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Preview 2018: USC Trojans. Get To The College Football Playoff Already

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What You Need To Know About The USC Defense

– The defense was hardly a rock last season – finishing 68th in the country overall and allowing 26 points per game – but it was a killer at getting to the quarterback and was strong when it had to be. Even with four of the top five sackers done, it’s going to keep on rolling.

Leading sackers Rasheem Green and Uchenna Nwosu are gone, but Christian Rector is back at one end after coming up with 7.5 sacks and Porter Gustin will eventually be back after missing almost all of last year hurt and suffering a knee injury in fall camp. Turned loose, these two should combine for close to 20 sacks and 30 tackles for loss if everything goes according to plan.

– The line in the 3-4 needs 320-pound Brandon Pili to be a star on the nose and hold everything down, but there’s depth behind him to play around with. The 275-pound Rector can do a little of everything from work as a 4-3 tackle to even an outside linebacker in the right situation, and there’s terrific bulk amount the rest of the ends. Now this group has to do more against the run after allowing 159 yards per game.

– The back eight should be a rock. Losing Nwosu hurts, but a healthy Gustin makes up for that, and veteran Jordan Iosefa is back on the other side and should be a statistical star as a 225-pound speed defender. Leading tackler Cameron Smith is a rock in the middle of it all, and 84-tackle John Houston should get plenty of all-star recognition at the other inside spot.

Iman Marshall should be in the NFL right now, but instead he’ll be a star at one corner. Marvell Tell III is a big-time talent at safety to be the sheriff of the secondary. There’s a nice blend of experience and options for the other safety jobs and the second corner gig – it’s a good situation for a pass D that has to be a whole lot tighter.

Biggest Key To The USC Defense

There’s too much talent in the secondary to give up over 3,300 yards again. Considering the pass rush will be among the nation’s best, the defensive backs will get the help to be a whole lot tighter, even against all the talented Pac-12 passers.

The interceptions were there to make up for the big plays the other way, but on the year, the pass D allowed 250 yards or more seven times with three 300-yard days and a 421-yarder to UCLA’s Mr. Rosen.

It’s fine – teams have to wing it around to keep up. As long as the Trojans are holding passing games to under 60% – they did that nine times last season – everything will be solid.

NEXT: Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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