USC lets out sigh in rout of UW

first_img Leinart praised the decision to go back to Chow’s preferred method of short, quick passes instead of the deeper balls that defined the first six games. “We did the things we’ve done best the last couple of years,” Leinart said. “Sometimes we want to beat defenses right away and we don’t get in a rhythm. We do that instead of going with the three-step (dropback) stuff, the things we do best the last couple years.” But before jumping to that conclusion, USC coach Pete Carroll weighed in, and naturally differed slightly even though he changed the offense. Carroll said he wanted to get back to a shorter-pass offense earlier but penalties prevented the Trojans from running it. “To get into that rhythm, you can’t play with a bunch of mistakes,” he said. Penalties weren’t a problem Saturday, so it looked like 2004 or 2003 again when USC had the ball. The fullbacks and tight ends caught six passes and White even caught two passes. “We needed to make some changes and be back in the rhythm we know so well,” Carroll said. “We went overboard (against Washington) to make a rhythm be fast just to get everyone involved and feel that style. That doesn’t mean that we stop throwing the ball downfield, we just didn’t. We be believe so much in what we are doing, we just went back to the principles.” As an example of that quick-paced attack, USC scored 37 points in the first half on just 25 plays including a Heisman-worthy 84-yard punt return from tailback Reggie Bush that saw him emerge from a group of Washington players, elude several tacklers and race untouched down the sideline. “I’ve been waiting to break one since the beginning of the year,” Bush said. “All I had to do is make a couple people miss.” In the span of 7 minutes, USC went from trailing 10-7 to leading 34-10. Leinart threw three touchdown passes and Bush scored the other two. “One of our goals this week was for (Leinart) to relax and not worry about a lot of things. He wasn’t having fun,” Sarkisian said. “He wanted to have fun. We tried to keep it simple and go back to what works.” Jarrett caught three touchdown passes, including a one-handed stab in the third quarter that will compare to those made by Mike Williams and Dominique Byrd the past two seasons. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SEATTLE — That breeze blowing into Husky Stadium from Lake Washington was nothing compared to the sigh of relief USC quarterback Matt Leinart exhaled Saturday afternoon. No, the No. 1-ranked Trojans (7-0, 4-0) didn’t dodge an upset or win in anywhere near as compelling a fashion as last week’s classic with Notre Dame. But they rediscovered former offensive coordinator Norm Chow’s system, which brought equal satisfaction. And Leinart delivered some critical comments of the current offense during an otherwise non-descript 51-24 rout of lowly Washington before 64,096 at Husky Stadium. center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week He then added, “I just fell back on track. You finally establish a rhythm with completions by dumping the ball off and getting 10 yards. The first two games we did whatever we wanted, and, in a way, we got away from the stuff that got us here.” After weeks of less-than-Leinart-like performances, the Heisman Trophy winner completed 20 of 26 passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns. OK, it was against Washington (1-6, 0-4) but even his teammates acknowledged the wisdom of returning to Chow’s philosophy. “We went back to the stuff that put us in this position and got us here in the first place,” tailback LenDale White said. Wide receiver Steve Smith, who along with wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett benefited most from the home-run attack, admitted, “It gets the quarterback more in sync and confident when he can dink the ball.” These remarks answered the season-long question of whether the Trojans’ offense changed under new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian. last_img read more