USC Football: 3 Plays We Want to See More on Offense

Rick McMahanSenior Writer IOctober 3, 2013

USC Football: 3 Plays We Want to See More on Offense

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    Clay Helton (photo from
    Clay Helton (photo from

    There is a new sheriff in town when it comes to running USC's offense. His name is Clay Helton.

    What's that you say? Isn't this the same Clay Helton who was the Trojans' offensive coordinator under the now departed Lane Kiffin?

    Yes, but now Helton's title actually has some meaning. He has been tabbed by interim head coach Ed Orgeron to not only craft the offense but call plays on game day as well.

    Coach Helton will now indelibly put his stamp on this offense. Unfortunately for him, he will be dealing with a unit that is far from a finished product.

    Led by a quarterback still trying to find his way and a receiving corps that has been relegated to four scholarship players, Helton will have his work cut out for him if he wants to return the Trojans to their high-flying exploits of yesteryear.

    This slideshow will look at some plays that Helton should keep in mind as he attempts to make the offense an important part of the overall game plan.

    So, without further delay, here are some plays we want to see coach Helton run in the near future.  

Keep Up a Steady Diet of Tre Madden in the Running Game

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    USA TODAY Sports

    There hasn't been much to celebrate this year on offense for the Trojans, but the one constant they can depend on is the hard running of tailback Tre Madden.

    Madden, a redshirt sophomore who missed last season due to a knee injury, has been nothing short of brilliant in 2013.

    Averaging 5.3 yards per carry, Madden has accrued almost 600 yards so far this season, which works out to a 116 yards-per-game average.

    With a depleted roster that is bereft of scholarship receivers, Madden has been a workhorse and will need to continue to be so for the foreseeable future. 

Run More Play Action When Passing

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    One of the benefits of having a good running attack is that you can effectively execute play action when it comes time to pass.

    With a young quarterback like Cody Kessler, the need for buying extra time is important. This comes with running these types of plays, which allows routes to develop as well.

    Until the passing game allows for more variety and execution in both personnel and game planning, play action will have to be something coach Helton relies on as 2013 continues to unfold. 

Utilize the Tight Ends in the Passing Game

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    Xavier Grimble
    Xavier GrimbleUSA TODAY Sports

    As stated before, USC has a real shortage of scholarship wide receivers on the roster. As a result, new play-caller Clay Helton will have to be a tad creative when scheming his pass plays.

    One solution to the shortage of receivers is to take advantage of a unit that is not quite so short of bodies.

    Not only are the tight ends available, they may be one of the most talented units on the team.

    Both Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer are playmakers, and both will quite likely wind up playing on Sundays.

    Great blockers and talented receivers, Grimble and Telfer could become major weapons for Cody Kessler if Helton decides to exploit that part of the passing game.

    Furthermore, Telfer was used as a wide receiver in high school, and could be used on the outside in that capacity as well.

    The talent doesn't stop there with this unit, either. Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is a 6'4", 255-pound beast, who is a mismatch waiting to happen.

    Overall, this unit is the deepest and most talented in the passing game and that should be taken advantage of.


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    Harry How/Getty Images

    In some ways, it is a lesson in futility attempting to devise a game plan for a coach that is making his debut calling plays.

    Now that it is his fingerprints on offense, Helton will scrutinize the personnel and attempt to match them to the plays he feels will give the Trojans the most success.

    Look for the running game to be featured while USC allows a banged-up receiver corps to heal and his quarterback to mature.

    In the long run, fans of the program should not expect dramatic changes from what they have seen so far on offense.

    The hope here is that whatever USC does, they do better.

    And ultimately, those are the plays we want to see...