The WeAreSC staff answers questions heading into the Trojans' game vs. Utah State
Which USC defensive player will be most important to help slow Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton?
Garry Paskwietz: Leonard Williams. I think it’s safe to say that any plan to slow Keeton will need to start with pressure. The Aggies quarterback has put up impressive numbers so far this year and his versatility will offer a key matchup for a USC defense that has played well in the first three games. The quickest way the Trojans are going to be able to get to Keeton and disrupt his timing will be from Williams. The sophomore defensive end was consistently applying pressure last week to thwart the Boston College run game, the strength of the Eagles' offense, and now his attention will be shifted to slowing the quarterback for Utah State.
Johnny Curren: Morgan Breslin. The USC defense will need to have a constant presence in the Utah State offensive backfield right from the get-go, and it would be ideal for the Trojans if that pressure came from the front level so they don’t lose anything in terms of their coverage. After all, Keeton is incredibly accurate, completing 78.1 percent of his passes this season, so he certainly appears to have the ability to pick a gambling defense apart. With that in mind, I think that Breslin, the Predator linebacker on the edge, could play a pivotal role. Possessing outstanding pass-rush skills to go along with the speed and athleticism to hang with Keeton, he’ll need to hit the Aggies’ passer early and often, thereby getting in his head and preventing him from finding his groove. If Breslin pressures Keeton on a consistent basis, and the rest of the defense plays disciplined and is able to contain him in the pocket, it could be a long day for the talented USU signal caller.
Greg Katz: Hayes Pullard. As I thought about this, my first inclination was to say outside linebacker Devon Kennard, figuring that Kennard could contain Keeton from getting outside on his end of the field and was also fast enough to pursue Keeton from the back side. Then, the more I thought about it, maybe I should select weak side linebacker Lamar Dawson with his speed, patrolling sideline to sideline. However, in the final analysis, I decided it would have to be Pullard because he can control both the inside and the outside and can be a threat to blitz. If the Trojans down three linemen can apply the pressure and keep Chuckie in the pocket and he scrambles up the middle, it could be “come to mama” for Mr. Pullard.