Chris Hawkins

Before Stanford, USC finds explanations for its run-defense failure. And, it hopes, some fixes too.

Before Stanford, USC finds explanations for its run-defense failure. And, it hopes, some fixes too.

Cameron Smith found himself in the unusual position of evaluating USC’s game film in real time last Saturday. Serving a half-game suspension for a targeting penalty during the second half of the Trojans’ Rose Bowl victory last January, the linebacker watched Western Michigan have its way with USC’s run defense on a television in the locker room.

He dissected the first half as it happened.

“I got a perfect view,” he said.

What he watched he had never seen before. There was confusion, disorganization. Outside linebacker Porter Gustin’s back was turned to the line of scrimmage on a number of plays as he waved and tried to communicate defensive calls. Safety Chris...

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