Jeremy Hogue's mailbag 

September, 5, 2012
Each week, WeAreSC columnist Jeremy Hogue will answer strategy and USC team questions in this mailbag:

[+] EnlargeGreg Townsend
Harry How/Getty ImagesHayes Pullard (10) filled in nicely at middle linebacker for the injured Lamar Dawson against Hawaii.
Q: What can the Trojans do against Syracuse to get Curtis McNeal going in the run game?

A: McNeal simply needs carries, and so does the O-line. As an offensive line, playing against a new defensive line with players you haven’t gone against before, it sometimes takes a few series before you get in a groove both individually in 1-on-1 blocking as well as blocking as a unit. But new defenses get familiar really fast when you simply get some reps and commit to the running game. As that goes, so goes McNeal. He needs some carries to get that rhythm going. His angles (pressing a hole, waiting for linebackers to flow, etc.) set up the blocking of the o-line, and it all works together. If you think of the 2011 season, he often had his most success late in games after he got several carries. That means the O-line is having success as well. McNeal will be just fine, and Kiffin wants to be more balanced. But while the Trojans may use a bit more running game than against Hawaii, I don’t know that it will be too dramatic, as the Syracuse defensive front is big and their linebackers are experienced but their secondary is young. That might be the matchup that Kiffin looks to exploit.