In Tuesday’s “Inside the Trojans’ Huddle”, panelists Marc Kulkin, Chris Arledge, Steve Bisheff, and Greg Katz grade and analyze the UCLA victory, discuss the greatest wins and most disappointing losses against Notre Dame in the panel’s Coliseum memories, and will the Trojans be emotionally ready for Notre Dame after the huge victory over UCLA? And, of course,viewer questions and panel answers pertaining to the big game with the Irish and the Trojans.
In the first quarter of ITTH, the panel discusses grades for the offense, defense, and special teams for the UCLA game. The panel was in near agreement about the offensive side of the football. The panel gave glowing reports about the poise that the offense showed when down 14-0 to the Bruins in the first quarter. It was like a panel lovefest of USC offensive football after the first quarter, which didn’t start off so hot.
All agreed that USC QB Caleb Williams has to be the frontrunner at this point for the Heisman Trophy. Chris Arledge couldn’t say enough superlatives regarding Caleb’s performance against the Bruins. There was also high praise, of course, for the Trojans running backs, wide receivers, and offensive line.
Defensively, there was general agreement that the defensive side of the ball was very opportunistic, and the bottom line is that they came through in the end with the interception by Korey Foreman to seal the victory on UCLA’s final drive. There was discussion where the interception by Foreman ranks in the annals of big plays down through the years against UCLA – especially given the circumstances with so much on the line.
The special teams, however, were given an overall grade that was not so nice. There was a lot of heat turned up upon the USC coaching staff or at least whoever made the decision for those two “sky” kicks as Lincoln Riley referred to them. You know, kicks that were once referred to as a “pooch” kick. Marc Kulkin read the actual quote from Lincoln Riley’s post-game press conference trying to explain the reasoning. Legendary columnist Steve Bisheff had a lot to say about the decision.
In terms of the overall grade for the USC team, the Trojans got strait “A’s” across the panel scoreboard – although one panelist gave an “A-“proclaiming if the Trojans had lost the game, everybody would have blamed the defense for allowing so many points. The message: Winning cures all negatives.
In the second quarter, the panel changed gears towards the USC/Notre Dame game and each panelist gave their three favorite Coliseum win memories over Notre Dame and loses to the Irish, as well. Remember the 1974 “Comeback” or the 1966 Irish blitz? How about the last name of Cusano and 1996? Then, of course, there’s 1988 and the Stan Smagala interception. Stan who? Ring a bell?
For the halftime segment, the panel answers viewer questions focused on questions regarding whether there will be Coliseum sellout on Saturday with the Irish, ranking Korey Foreman’s interception in USC/UCLA annals, and a question about a Caleb Williams and a girlfriend.