USC Football: Strong Recruiting Class Meaningless Without More Offensive Linemen
A quick glance over the list of USC's recruits reads like a who's who of high school football players. The Trojans have already received letters of intent from the best defensive back in the nation and the most highly recruited quarterback in years.
Beyond that, they've gotten verbal commitments from the nation's top defensive tackle, a 5-star running back and another 5-star defensive back as well.
Notice anything missing from that list?
Yes, despite the Trojan offensive line being the most glaring problem this season, the Trojans have commitments from just two offensive linemen in guard Khaliel Rodgers and tackle Nico Falah.
These two 4-star recruits are a nice start, but they are not enough to fix the problems that hurt the Trojans.
Believe it or not, Matt Barkley was only sacked 14 times this season, but that doesn't change the fact that he was often on the run. The pressure he faced is better reflected in the 15 interceptions he threw. Likewise, Max Wittek struggled in his only start for the Trojans, going down three times and throwing two interceptions.
The games to really examine are those against Notre Dame and Stanford, two premiere defenses. A top offense like USC's should be able to challenge those defenses, but USC averaged 13.5 points per game in those two games.
The main problem was pressure. Barkley was sacked five times against Stanford, and Wittek was sacked three times against Notre Dame. The offensive line was the main problem for the Trojans on offense all season, especially against the toughest opponents.
To be fair, USC has given plenty of other offensive linemen attention. Unfortunately, it has simply failed to land most of them. That stings for a team that will otherwise be stacked with talent in 2013.
If USC struggles again in 2013, it will be because it failed to fix the offensive line. They will need a minor recruiting miracle to do so.
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