The Carroll streak of seven consecutive years of 11-plus victories, Pac-10 titles, and BCS bowl bids may be at risk this year with all the changes going on around USC.
With the new offensive coordinator John Morton, defensive coordinator Rocky Seto, and the new flashy quarterback in Aaron Corp, it will be a lot different this year for Pete Carroll and the staff at USC.
My take on the situation is simple: USC will still dominate the collegiate world.
Last season the Trojans were first in both defensive scoring with (9.0) ppg, and passing holding opponents to under 140 yards per game.
The Trojans also ranked second in the nation in total defense with (221.8) total yards per game.
As you can see last season the Trojans were know for their outstanding defensive unit. This year I think it will be a little different.
I have five key players that will make this USC squad the team to beat:
I think McKnight will be one of the best premiere backs that USC will use in the 2009-10 season. He can light up the scoreboard in a hurry with his unique running style and fancy footwork. He will be one of the top scorers for this Trojan team. Joe McKnight only had 89 carries for 659 yards and averaged seven yards per carry last season.
This two-time All-American safety Taylor Mays will have the role of leading one of the best Carroll has ever had. Mays is one of a few returning leaders.
Last season, Mays recorded 53 tackles, 38 solo. He is a tremendous athlete with raw ability. I'm putting my money on this guy next season to make some of the biggest plays on this USC defense. If this guy does not show up the secondary will look like the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James.
He is one of the most talented wideouts in the Pac-10 in my opinion. He made some jaw-dropping catches last season. He was limited in the Rose Bowl due to a shoulder injury.
Jones was the leading receiver last season with 58 receptions, 869 yards and 9 TDs. He was the biggest target last season for Trojan QB Mark Sanchez. Williams stands 6'1", 190-pounds so its not a problem for him to catch the fade ball or any other ball for that matter.
Notable mention is that Williams played in the SEC before transferring to USC. The SEC is known for their physical defense, so being physical is not a problem for Damian Williams.
He's powerfully built at 6'3", 265 pounds, but he runs like a tailback. He's been clocked under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He is one of those guys who just loves to hit people and is not scared of anyone. He had this to say last season after a harsh hit on Oregon State quarterback:
"I don't know how to explain it, because it's the greatest feeling in the world. When you're coming off the edge and the quarterback doesn't see you, it's like a free shot to heaven."
I think it's clear why this guy recorded (4.5) sacks last season.
I almost left this monster out! I was so caught up in McKnight I forgot about the leading rusher on the USC team. Stafon Johnson rushed for 705 yards on 138 carries, with 9 TDs. Stafon is a very physical running back with that killer instinct. He comes to play every game like it was his last.
I think the talented running backs in Stafon Johnson, Joe McKinght, and C.J. Gable—each of whom could start for almost any NCAA team—are going to light up the scoreboard this season.
These are a few national players who I think are going to contribute a ton to this USC team this season.
I would love to hear who you might like to see help this USC team to another BCS berth. If you feel I left out some key player please inform me. I will be looking forward to hearing all feedback: good or bad.