Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the USC Trojans season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– USC Previews 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
2018 Record: 5-7 overall, 4-5 in Pac-12
Head Coach: Clay Helton, 5th year, 32-17
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE USC OFFENSE
– Let’s just see if this thing works. It was supposed to be the Kliff Kingsbury offense, but now it’ll be up to former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell to change around the offensive attack. The former North Texas offensive coordinator cranked up massive numbers through the air, and now it’s time to see if one of the Pac-12’s least-efficient passing games something special. But …
– JT Daniels now gets to take the training wheels off. The superstar recruit in last year’s class should’ve been a senior in high school, but instead he was thrown to the wolves right out of the gate. Now he gets to unleash the fun in what should be a wide open passing game. With Matt Fink transferring out, sophomore Jack Sears is No. 1A with the shot to use his athleticism to potentially push out Daniels. No matter who’s throwing it …
– The receiving corps is fantastic. Six of the top seven receivers are back, starting with last year’s star recruit Amon-Ra St. Brown, who led the team with 60 catches for 750 yards and three scores.
Michael Pittman, though, is the most explosive playmaker – he’ll blow up in the new offense – averaging well over 18 yards per catch with six touchdowns. Tyler Vaughns was second on the team with 58 catches and should put up massive numbers on the outside.
The tight ends are just okay, but there are options with juniors Josh Falo and Erik Krommenhoek needing to find roles.
– The ground game that was non-existent for long stretches last season will change up a bit. Forget about any semblance of consistent power – it’ll be about being able to hit the open holes quickly, and finding the backs who can catch.
215-pound Vavae Malepeai made the most noise with 15 catches last season, and finished second on the team with 501 rushing yards with a team-high eight scores. Junior Stephen Carr can catch, too, but he was banged up a bit and underwhelmed with just 384 yards. 230-pound redshirt freshman Markese Stepp is a wee bit of a wild card after a great offseason – he’s the toughest blocker of the bunch.
– After a rough season without enough pop for the ground game and too many plays allowed in the backfield, the O line needs some retooling. The Trojans have two excellent veterans to work around with juniors Austin Jackson at left tackle and Andrew Vorhees – the team’s most consistently solid blocker – at right guard.
With the battle for the center job seemingly settled with last year’s backup Brett Neilon taking over for Toa Lobendahn, the fall camp fights will be to lock down the right tackle and left guard gigs.