As we march towards Saturday night's game against USC, we sat down and chatted with SBNation's USC Blog Conquest Chronicle.
1. Obviously the talk around USC right now has to be around beating Stanford last weekend. What did the Trojans do well last weekend that led to the victory?
Conquest Chronicle: The Trojans were able to clench down, limiting the Stanford Cardinal from capitalizing in the red zone. While David Shaw's conservative play calling certainly helped, USC exemplified good pass rush and fed off a dominant 11-tackle display from Leonard Williams. On offense, Cody Kessler started great on the opening drive, and finished strong leading USC down the field for a game-winning scoring drive.
2. Talk a little about your new coach Steve Sarkisian, what changes have you seen in the program from Ed Orgeron/Lane Kiffin
CC: Steve Sarkisian is a complete 180 from Lane Kiffin. Going from one of the quietest, most soft-spoken coaches ever to a coach that has been reportedly called the most talkative coach (in interviews) in college football, the Trojans have a media-savvy character that is likable to Trojan nation. Sark loves to distribute out responsibility, much like Orgeron, but can also get fired up and engage his players in friendly, jovial encouragement.
3. Boston College struggled mightily on the offensive and defensive line last week against Pitt. Who are some of the names on the USC offensive and defensive line that we should be aware of.
CC: Be foolish not to start with All-American defensive end Leonard Williams, who continues to dominate opposing defenses playing less than at 100 percent. Center Max Tuerk is a strong force up front, capable of picking up blitz packages and calming down a young line featuring two starting freshman. Those two players, 377-pound Damien Mama and Toa Lobendahn have done a tremendous job contributing right from day one.
4. Cody Kessler killed Boston College last year, and seems to have only improved since then. What improvements have you seen from your signal caller from last year?
CC: After finally snagging the starting job during that Boston College game last season, Cody Kessler has developed a confident poise in the pocket. The redshirt junior has control of his locker room and that respect has led to smarter decisions in the pocket, both in and out of the pocket. In just his last 11 games, Kessler has completed 18 touchdown passes to only three interceptions. He continues to thrive by throwing short check down routes when things break down, especially the case on 3rd-down conversions.
5. Alright, prediction time. Give it your best shot.
CC: I'm gonna stay strictly to the spread here and say that USC wins 28-7, mostly because Cody Kessler and the up-tempo offense will be back to Fresno State form. The defense may struggle without Hayes Pullard, but the unit as a whole will be strong in between the 20s.