Every year it seems Pete Carroll’s teams are stockpiled of NFL talent on both sides of the ball. It also seems each year his teams are supposed to win a National Title but lose in a game they weren’t supposed to lose, like Stanford in 2007 and Oregon State last year. The Trojans hope to reverse that trend in 2009, bringing back All-American Strong Safety Taylor Mays and a cast of other stars. Even after losing their starting QB and basically the entire defense to the NFL, mainly the first few rounds, USC comes back as strong as ever. Feauturing a flock of versatile Running Backs that all have supreme talent, Coach Carroll expects to run the ball much more this season. Lead by CJ Gable, Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson, the Trojans should have much success on the ground this year. All three backs are extremely athetic, they are great down hill runners and Gable and Johnson are power runners while McKnight is the shifty, do it all back similar to Reggie Bush. The reason behind the wealth of running this season is the Quarterback situation. USC is “The Quarterback Factory,” and the system was on display last season as Mark Sanchez was selected fifth overall by the New York Jets. This season, the Trojans have a lottery of options for the postion, which all have their own perks. First is Aaron Corp, a gritty competitor with a rocket arm that is expected to come out of summer camp as the starter. Next, is Matt Barkeley, the number one Quarterback from this year’s class and a tough player that has all the makings of a player similar to Matt Ryan. Last is Mitch Mustain, the former Arkansas Razorback who like Barkeley was the top QB out of high school, this time in 2006. All three QB’s can succeed for Carroll, who arguably is the most spoiled coach in college football.
On defense, the Trojans will feature many new names but the headliner is Taylor Mays. Mays, the size of a Linebacker, but runs like a gazelle, is a hard hitter that punishes anyone coming his way. With Mays running the D, the young Trojans should have no problem adapting to big time college football.
With all said, the Trojans have a relatively average schedule with big games at Ohio State, California, Oregon, and Arizona State. If the Trojans can get past Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes, Jahvid Best and the Golden Bears, Jeremiah Masoli and the Ducks, and Rudy Carpenter and the Sun Devils, they should be set for a title run, as this season is as competitive as any season in recent memory. In a conference that won the most bowl games last season, the Trojans are the enforcers and look to do the same this season.