Defense too complicated
With Rey Maualuga and three other linebackers having moved on to the NFL, Chris Galippo said before the season that he was eager to once again have the responsibility, “of either making plays or possibly losing a game,” on his shoulders.
Galippo, of course, was not solely responsible for the Trojans’ defensive collapse against Oregon.
But USC’s defensive signal-caller and the rest of the linebacker corps struggled mightily during a 47-20 defeat in which the Trojans’ defense gave up 613 yards.
“Every once in a while you get your butt kicked, you get your face shoved in the dirt,” Galippo said Monday after watching tape of the game. “That’s what happened.
“They out-executed us. We came out slow. We just really couldn’t find the ball and they were doing everything right.”
Galippo, a third-year sophomore, made a season-low three tackles against Oregon. He did not practice Monday because of a neck sprain but plans to return today and play Saturday at Arizona State.
Weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith did not practice because of a shoulder injury suffered against the Ducks, so Shane Horton is on track to start.
Coach Pete Carroll said he and his staff erred against Oregon by restricting the defense with a complicated scheme that caused less-seasoned players to play too cautiously.
Asked by a reporter if last season’s veteran linebacker corps, which included Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Kaluka Maiava and Clay Matthews, made it easier to run more complicated schemes, Carroll said, “You couldn’t ask for more experience than we had last year, so we had the absolute maximum attention and focus and ability. And this might be an indication of that.
“Up until now, I haven’t felt like that, but this plan in particular . . . it’s going in the can. I’m real disappointed it turned out that way.”
Carroll, however, was pleased with the Trojans’ first practice since the defeat.
“Better than probably the last couple Mondays for obvious reasons,” he said. “We’ll just do it one day at a time. That’s how you rebuild your mentality.
“We’ll see, obviously, what the results are on Saturday.”
Receiver Damian Williams, who caught nine passes for 82 yards and a touchdown against Oregon, continues to nurse a sore glute and hamstring, which could keep him mostly sidelined until Saturday.
“I aggravated it a lot [against Oregon],” he said. “I didn’t know if I was going to make it back out there.”
Kickoff for the Trojans’ Nov. 14 game against Stanford at the Coliseum will be at 12:30 p.m., USC announced. . . . Defensive tackle Armond Armstead practiced with a cast on his fractured left wrist. . . . Tight end Anthony McCoy (ankle), who did not play against Oregon, remained sidelined, but he is no longer wearing a protective boot. . . . Fullback Stanley Havili (shoulder) said he expected to play against Arizona State. . . . Defensive end Everson Griffen (toe sprain) did not practice. Devon Kennard and Malik Jackson would alternate in his place if he cannot play Saturday. . . . Receiver Ronald Johnson was absent because of illness, Carroll said. Receivers David Ausberry (calf) and Travon Patterson (ankle) did not practice.