Jeremy Hogue's mailbag 

September, 26, 2012
Robert Woods Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesOpposing defenders have been a lot more aggressive in their coverage of Robert Woods (pictured) and Marqise Lee this season, opening up production possibilities for USC's running backs and tight ends.
Each week, WeAreSC columnist Jeremy Hogue will answer strategy and USC team questions in this mailbag:

1. Opponents are using coverage schemes that are loaded up to stop the USC vertical passing game. Talk about what they are doing and how the Trojans will have to adjust.

Many smart people commented in the offseason that the USC passing game was simple -- if corners played off of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, the threw the quick lateral pass and picked up 5-yards plus; and if they came up and played tight, they threw the fade and counted on Woods and Lee (particularly Lee, who was a surprise to defensive coordinators) going to get the ball. It worked. Now you are seeing defenses -- with an offseason to prepare -- play tighter to the line, and even if they are 5-8 yards off, as soon as they read the quick pass, they are vaulting up to make tackles near the line. They are also sliding safeties over the top and effectively preventing the deep fade as well.