Defense Isn't Overconfident

Texas' Michael Huff is a senior All-American safety. He e-mailed The Times on Sunday, writing about the challenge of facing USC's high-powered offense.


Southern California has a great group of receivers. All of them are explosive, big-play guys. We have to remember that at any time, any one of them can get hot and beat us. So we have to be on our Ps and Qs.

Dwayne Jarrett makes big plays. Matt Leinart throws the ball up for him and Jarrett will do anything he can to get up and make the catch. Steve Smith is a deep threat; he has so much speed. As for the tight ends, Dominique Byrd is dangerous because he is able to create mismatches whether he is on the safety or on the linebacker. Because of that, you can't defend him with schemes that put a linebacker or a safety on him every time. You have to give him different looks.

We know that Reggie Bush is a threat out of the backfield and has the ability to burn people. He is someone you have to keep your eyes on at all times. We feel like a key to this game is stopping the run. They have Bush and LenDale White, who are going to line up and run the ball a good amount of the time. That is a primary focus for our defense.

You can't have a long run without your receivers blocking down the field. You can see on film that USC has done a great job of that and they don't get a lot of credit for it. But Bush would not be able to have the runs he does without his receivers blocking.

Luckily, we defend against one of the best offenses in the country every day in practice. I think that working with our Texas offense every day will help us be prepared for an offense as dangerous as Southern California's.

I will be all over the field playing safety, cornerback, and moving a lot.

USC is a team with great players and great coaching. The players execute the plays that the coaches draw up, and they are disciplined in that. I think that USC's power comes from their solidarity. There are a lot of teams around the nation that have amazing athletes, but don't have that cohesiveness.

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