Hello Followers. Hope you’ve had a great week.
As for me, well, time is and has been very short. So, let's get right to it, shjall we?
As many of you know, I was a pretty big fan of Paul Wulff. And as you also know, even though I was pretty peeved when he got fired, I was pretty darn excited a few days later about the hiring of Mike Leach.
And honestly, one of things that I was most excited about was the opportunity to see a different direction on the defensive side of the ball. And so, I was particularly pleased when he hired Mike Breske—not only because of his commitment to a 3-4—but also because of his commitment to an aggressive style of defensive play.
As Magic Mike said at the time of his initial hire and nearly every time since: “Our job is to get off the field as quickly as possible, so we can get Mike Leach’s offense back on the field as quickly as possible.” (And that type of deal).
So, fast forward to the beginning of the season. To be sure, Auburn was a bit green and USC was all Kiffined-out, but the results of those contests were noteworthy. I mean, notwithstanding one giant explosive running play, our defense held Auburn’s offense to 17 points—and that included the negative field position given up by one of Connor’s three (or was it five?) INT’s. And of course, our defense was NASTY against SC. And while there’s good reason to thank Lane Kiffin for that, the bottom line is that when I’ve watched USC play since that time, they look more or less the same to me with respect to scheme. The difference between then and now: SC believes that they can be good and dominant. And us? Well, we appear to have no such belief—at least defensively.
Of course, one of the main differences between our first four games and the second can be traced to our opponents’ ability to throw the football. So, while at one point in the season it was fine and dandy for us to rush 3 and drop 8, our lack of an ability to generate a pass rush has since left our weak secondary especially vulnerable. Even worse, while other teams have been marching up and down the field seemingly at will, Breske’s response has been to sit back and play bend and break—blaming most of our defensive troubles on the fact that our player’s “eyes” are not right. (And that type of deal).
The result has been nothing but catastrophic: Our Defense has given up more points in a four game span than any time since 2008!
Now think about that for a moment: Over the past four games, our defense has performed as bad as those Wulff teams that had ZERO talent. And so, when you look at the talent that we do have on defense—even in spite of our warts—one has to wonder: What in holy hell is going on here?