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Grading the Game - USC

Head coach Steve Sarkisian of the Washington Huskies can't believe that he is actually being out coached on game day by USC head man Lane Kiffin.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Head coach Steve Sarkisian of the Washington Huskies can't believe that he is actually being out coached on game day by USC head man Lane Kiffin. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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One of our readers mentioned that I should bag grading the game on a position by position basis and just give the entire team an F with the exception of an individual here and there.

After sleeping on it I tend to agree. This was by far the worst performance of the season and a disparity in talent had little or nothing to do with yesterdays loss.

The Huskies were not mentally or physically prepared for this encounter with USC. The entire team sleep walked through this one and acted like they didn't want to be there. If your Steve Sarkisian you have to be asking yourself why this team is starting to regress each week?


Keith Price was sacked four times and had to leave the game early after being tossed around by the SC defense like a rag doll. Keith is starting to look pretty mortal when the pocket begins to shrink. The coolness that he possessed at the beginning of the season has been eroded over the past few weeks by the conferences elite teams. Nick Montana got plenty of playing time and proved to anyone that was still watching the game that his arm strength and mobility aren't where they need to be to compete in this league.

Running Backs

Chris Polk only carried the ball nine times yesterday. An early deficit and an incompetent offensive line took him completely out of the game. There were a few decent Bishop Sankey moments after the game was decided. He has a pretty bright future.


ASJ and Kasen Williams were the lone bright spots yesterday. Obviously when your QB is sacked seven times there aren't going to be a lot of opportunities but what I found really disturbing was the blocking. USC's defensive backs just ate up our receivers all day. It was really a joke and when Aguilar and Kearse look at the film later today they are going to be really embarrassed. Those guys are way better than that but you wouldn't have known it by the way they played yesterday.

Offensive Line

Who are these guys? They certainly aren't the same guys who have led this team to six victories this season. I saw a lot of quit and I saw it really early with these guys. It was good to see Sark yank Kohler and give Micah Hatchie a shot. As I watch the film all I see were missed assignments, a lack of effort, and guys being stood up. I focused a lot on Colin Porter and he looked to me like he didn't want to be out there yesterday. I think the talent and potential is there but for some reason the coaches are not getting the type of performance you would expect this late in the season from this group.

Defensive Line

Ta'amu continues to get good push but his linemates are not taking advantage of it. I watched Potoae and he had good and bad moments...pad level seems to be a big problem with him...he needs to break a bad habit of standing up too much. Lack of size and experience on the edge is really starting to hurt this team.


They were inconsistent at times but like the guys up front we saw a few good things now and then. These guys really need to start tackling better and it opens up a question we will address later concerning contact at practice. Missed tackles are just killing this defense as a whole. I think the only way you get better at it is to practice it.


Barkley didn't exactly shred these guys but he didn't have to because after the first quarter the running game started working for the Trojans. The game was basically over at the half and the Trojans coasted from there.

Special Teams

The fake punt and the long kick off return put 14 points on the board for the Trojans. The team as a whole was tight and tentative and those traits were reflected on special teams play. This was a huge step back for some units who had been playing pretty well this season.


Washington had no business losing this badly to a USC team which frankly isn't very good. They should have been able to generate some offense against a Trojan defense which has leaked like a sieve for the past two seasons.

Sark didn't have his guys prepared to play football this week. It was pretty obvious from the onset that the kids didn't have their heads in the game. You can criticize him from an X's and O's perspective because nothing he called really worked yesterday but when your offensive line is incapable of blocking your play calling is never going to look good.

We need to face is week ten and this team isn't getting better. Ever since Stanford smashed them in the mouth they have been playing an un-enthused and sloppy brand of football. The coaches need to meet this challenge the same way they did last season and find a way to correct the mistakes and power through it in a positive way.

The defense had its moments yesterday. I am not saying they played well enough to win but they performed better than the offense. They were out on the field the entire day and it was pretty obvious they were winded at times. Big plays happen under that type of scenario.

Why so many missed and sloppy tackles? Sark runs an NFL style practice to prevent injuries but there has to be a time allotted when these guys need to go with full contact at practice to get this part of the game buttoned up.