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USC-Stanford Report Card

USC-Stanford Report Card

QUARTERBACK

Kedon Slovis not only had the stats he rallied the entire team. Let's see what happens when he gets hit and faces some blitzes.

Grade: A-

RUNNING BACKS

Lost in the Slovis glow, the running game sputtered. Why won't USC play Markese Stepp? I don't get it.

Grade: C-

WIDE RECEIVERS

The big 3 (Vaughns, Pittman, St. Brown) produced as expected. Drake London had a nice debut. Why would a tight end want to come to USC in this offense?

Grade: B+

OFFENSIVE LINE

A former USC All-American offensive lineman told me he thought the offensive line was not impressive vs. Stanford. They didn't really get tested much facing a dull, 4-man front.

Grade: C

DEFENSIVE LINE

Judging the defense is tougher when it has faced two QB's making their first college starts. The line takes up a lot of space and sometimes makes a play.

Grade: C+

LINEBACKER

I guess I will have to wait another week for Palaie Gaoteote to live up to the hype. I expect him to break out at some point.

Grade: C-

SECONDARY

There has to be a lot of high-fiving in the coaches' offices about the QB's the secondary faced. I like Talanoa Hufanga (10 tackles). I wish he would celebrate making normal plays less.

Grade: C

SPECIAL TEAMS

Nobody wore the same jersey. Highly touted punter Ben Griffiths looks like he has John Baxter keeping him on a leash. There was a 60-yard Stanford kick return but Austin Jackson blocked a field goal.

C

COACHING

Is it great coaching when a QB steps up and consistently hits open receivers? This is a lesser version of the Sam Darnold theory, where the QB covers up for the coach.

Clancy Pendergast employs some reckless strategy with his insistence to leave the cornerbacks on an island but Stanford was ill-equipped to exploit it.

Now let's dispel a theory from some fans: They defend Clay Helton not starting Kedon Slovis in Game 1 by saying Nick Saban did not start Jalen Hurts in Game 1 vs. USC in 2016.

Saban planned the entire 2016 training camp with the intention of inserting Hurts in the third series of the game against USC. He knew Hurts was his best QB. He just wanted him to watch a couple series and then play him.

Conversely, Helton is ONLY playing Slovis because his golden child, JT Daniels, suffered an unfortunate injury. Big difference.

Grade: C-

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