By no means did Cameron Elisara mean to disparage Nebraska’s run game, which seared the Huskies for 383 yards, including three 100-yard rushers in a 56-21 victory.
But Elisara, a big man at defensive tackle, has a little more respect for the rushing attack he’s about to see Saturday at 18th-ranked Southern California.
It doesn’t hide. It seeks.
“The Nebraska scheme, in my opinion … what it really stressed is for everybody to play their assignments really well,” Elisara said. “Not that the USC offense isn’t like that … but the one-on-one matchups, the man-to-man (style) on who is the tougher player, I feel those prevail more.
“I like the smash mouth type of football.”
Last season, the Trojans came in with a former coach (Pete Carroll), a different offensive coordinator (Jeremy Bates) and a star-studded cast in its backfield, including tailbacks Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson and Allen Bradford.
USC ran for 250 yards (a 7.6-yard average), but the Huskies ended up posting an upset anyway, 16-13.
A new season brought a changed staff. Lane Kiffin took over for Carroll, Kennedy Pola is now the USC offensive coordinator and the team’s leading rusher is Marc Tyler (288 yards), but they return Bradford and well-rounded fullback Stanley Havili, whom Kiffin considers a slam-dunk All-American candidate, and newcomer Dillon Baxter, who has been known to run the “Wildcat” formation.
After watching tape of USC’s first four games, UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt noted the Trojans appear a little more committed to establishing the run than in the past.
“They might be running earlier a little bit more. I think their running backs are doing a nice job,” Holt said. “I think the guys are a little more committed to the run game, maybe, than in the past. They always tried to be balanced and you look at them and they are pretty dang balanced and doing a nice job of that.”
** THURSDAY PRACTICE: Cornerback Anthony Boyles (sprained ankle), who did not practice Thursday, will also not travel. He was not with the team at Brigham Young to begin the season. … Safety Victor Aiyewa (fractured finger) was back and practiced fully – a day after leaving early with the injury. … Running back Johri Fogerson (upper leg) will not play Saturday. … For a fourth consecutive day, “Tribute to Troy” could be heard along Montlake Boulevard throughout practice.