USC Knows Running Game Has To Find Another Gear

After hitting 30+ plus points in the first two games, USC's offense not reached 20 points in a win over Louisiana Tech and losses to Kentucky and Texas A&M.

Part of the problem can be traced to a lack of a running game. USC is one of three SEC teams who are averaging less than 100 yards per game. For the season, USC is putting up an average of 22.6 points per game which ranks 13th in the league.

When analyzing his offense, USC head coach Will Muschamp starts with what his team is doing well and using that as a starting point.

"I think if you look in the passing game right now the RPOs have been really good for us," he said.

'We’ve created a lot of explosive plays. I think you look at the quick game and it’s been really good for us. You look at last Saturday night and Shi Smith in the quick game with big, explosive plays. Brian Edwards was in the quick game with explosive plays on 2nd-and-7. You look at the back shoulder throwing to Brian in the quick game. They went to more man coverage to deny the ball in the quick game situations, which hurts your routes further down the field. Again, I thought that’s been very productive. The play action pass has been very productive. Really, our drop back passing has been very good until the other night we struggled to protect. Jake in a couple situations has to get rid of the football. Running back position misses two protections. Then we got beat up front a couple times."

Muschamp added that there will always be some tweaks but don't expect wholesale changes, especially from week to another. While the offense has shown flashes of being able to run the ball, it hasn't been consistent enough to create balance and as a result, USC's offense has been one-dimensional.

“Is it where we want to be? No. It isn’t good enough and it’s not productive enough," he said.

"You have to stay balanced in this league; you can’t become one-dimensional. I.e. after the second series on the second half it became a throwing game and it was a launching pad for the quarterback. So, we tried to throw a couple screens and those didn’t manifest themselves. The running game was nonexistent, and they’re teeing off the quarterback. When you get in those situations, it’s extremely difficult. So, we have to find some sort of balance in what we do, as far as getting the ball in the perimeter more and continuing to have ways to run the football.”

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