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Wolf: USC struggles for straight answers on offense

By in Press Enterprise on October 4, 2017

By Scott Wolf

LOS ANGELES — USC was ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll, had the Heisman Trophy favorite playing quarterback and featured perhaps the nation’s best 1-2 punch at tailback.

But you would never know it based on the some of the strange answers given Tuesday night, five games into a USC season that remains an offensive disappointment.

“News flash. We lost a lot of good players who went to the NFL,” USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin said. “And this is a new chemistry, new camaraderie, our quarterback, (injured tight end) Daniel Imatorbhebhe hasn’t even played a down this year. You’re talking about basically, three of his top four wide receivers who aren’t here anymore.”

Why didn’t everyone realize this before the season? How could so many expect the offense to perform under such conditions? Why didn’t USC coaches tell us in the spring about these issues?

Martin was almost offended when it was pointed out fans expected more based on preseason rankings.

“Why would they think that?” he said. “(Rankings) don’t mean anything. That has nothing to do with offense and defense. People leave, people change.”

Let’s see, the Trojans lost wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers. The next two top receivers by catches were Deontay Burnett and Steven Mitchell. USC scored 17 points against Texas when both were healthy. So the personnel losses were important but not considered devastating.

The offensive coordinator whiffed, however, when he said the reason USC’s young receivers could not get into games this season because there were too many close games.

Whose fault is that?

USC was supposed to have an explosive offense. And there were plenty of opportunities to rotate players like Joseph Lewis, Josh Imatorbhebhe and Michael Pittman into games. Instead, USC thrust them into the biggest game of the season against Washington State and said, […]    

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