According to Matt Hayes of the Sporting News, the long time coaching veteran (Joe Paterno) will outsmart the newer kid on the block (Pete Carroll) to give Penn State the Rose Bowl victory. To be more specific, Hayes gives reference to Lions offensive coordinator Galen Hall and defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.
In not so many words, Hayes claims the Trojans offensive line is overrated, regardless of the recorded numbers for sacks allowed on the season (17). He believes Aaron Maybin will have success off the end, and the physicality of the PSU secondary will disrupt the timing of the USC passing game. He mentions that SC has problems with dual-threat quarterbacks, naming Dennis Dixon and Patrick Cowan (of all people), without ever giving a mention to Illinois’ Juice Williams. He also points to the success Terrelle Pryor had against the Trojans in only his 3rd game. The mobility of Daryll Clark will allow successful ball movement, and the presence of Maybin will result in the Trojans offense sputtering on the opposing side. Well, at least that’s what I gathered from the reading. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but it’s either loyalty or his omissions that disallow me to share his vision.
His mention of Patrick Cowan is poor. Though UCLA did score a major 2006 upset of USC, the Bruins offense managed (and needed) just 13 points to win. It was a tremendous defensive performance by Dwayne Walker’s unit that brought victory. Dennis Dixon had more failures in his college career against Carroll defenses than success. He fails to mention that. Washington’s Stanback of years past, and Jake Locker today, failed to will their programs to victory with their mobility. Vince Young was mentioned early in his article, but not in the section about mobility. That’s a good thing, because comparing Clark to Young would be laughable.
And finally, the reference to Aaron Maybin being powered by his quest for NFL dollars is like saying Ohio State’s Malcolm Jenkins, James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman are future welfare recipients. The Buckeyes defensive unit contains more NFL first round talent than any other program the Trojans faced this year, yet USC struck early and often. In the end, when it's all said and done, Matt Hayes may be absolutely right about his projection and reasoning for it. But as of right now, based on his “strong points”, I’m not feeling it.