What is the key for the USC defense in terms of slowing down the Arizona hurry-up spread offense?
Arizona’s spread is a pass-first spread that is still, in essence, option football. The Wildcats simply do it through the air more than on the ground. But what they force a defense to do is defend multiple things on each play and put a lot of pressure on a defense to be sound. What being sound means is that a defense can’t simply line up and fly to the ball -- it has to play assignment football and count on all 11 defenders to do their jobs, and not try to do others’ jobs. It’s similar to playing a run option like Oregon's, or Tim Tebow’s Florida, or a wishbone like Barry Switzer’s old Oklahoma teams. Defenders have to be smart and play their assignments.
One other thing that helps -- disruptive plays along the defensive line. And this would be an ideal time for USC’s front four to play its best game. Arizona’s offensive line has had injuries, and this may be the opportune time for Ed Orgeron’s group to make itself well known in the Arizona backfield.