L.A. Times Writer
Lonnie White on USC vs. Ohio
Lonnie White, Inside/Behind the Lines Columnist for
the Los Angeles Times steps up to the mic and answers some questions before the
big USC vs. Ohio State game.
Interview by Eric Geier
1.) How much
is losing John David Booty going to hurt? Or has Pete Carroll already groomed
his next star?
----There's always a period of adjustment any time a
major football program has to replace a veteran starter at quarterback, and
that will be the case with USC in 2008. John David Booty may have had flaws but
he was a steady leader for two seasons and led the Trojans to back-to-back Rose
But junior Mark Sanchez has waited quietly for his
turn to be USC's No.1 quarterback and he has the potential to be more dynamic
and productive than Booty. Sanchez is a bigger and better athlete with a
stronger arm. But Sanchez lacks experience and that will be a major challenge
against Ohio State.
2.) What do
you think is the biggest hurdle USC football is going to have to overcome
before the start of the season?
----USC's biggest hurdle to overcome will be putting
together a cohesive offensive line around guard Jeff Beyers, the only returning
starter. Several players will get a chance to compete for a starting job and it
will be important for the Trojans to find a five-man unit early in camp to help
Sanchez with his development.
3.) What do
you think is the biggest factor going into the USC vs. Ohio State
----The Buckeyes' edge in experience will be the
biggest factor. With so many people expecting Ohio State to dominate the Big 10
again, this will be like an early season National Championship game and USC is
well aware that two years ago, the Buckeyes knocked off Texas in Sept. to spark
a run to the BCS title game.
4.) Where do
you think USC will excel and where do you think they will struggle in the game
vs. Ohio State?
-----USC's secondary should be better and deeper than
last season and this will be a strength against Ohio State's
passing game. But the Trojans' own air attack may struggle against the
Buckeyes' pass defense.
5.) Do you
think the crowd will be a factor? Are they as excited as people in Columbus?
----This should be an interesting factor because Ohio State
travels so well. Under Coach Pete Carroll, the Coliseum has grown into a strong
home field advantage for USC but the Buckeyes will not find the stadium too
difficult to play in---compared to games at Michigan
and Penn State. However, USC fans are very
excited for the game and that may be a difference maker.