LOS ANGELES – Caleb Williams had an impressive game against Colorado last weekend, scoring six touchdowns. He is still considered the top contender for the Heisman trophy. Williams leads the dynamic offense coached by Lincoln Riley and has achieved remarkable statistics, even though he has only played 16 quarters of football in 5 games this season.
Here are three takeaways from practice:
MarShawn Lloyd discusses his admiration for Lakers star LeBron James
As USC’s head coach, Lincoln Riley was uncertain about whether Lloyd or Austin Jones would be the starting running back of the team during Lloyd’s junior season. However, after the second game, Lloyd took the lead role and has held it ever since.
Currently, Lloyd is the leading rusher for the team with 443 yards, while Jones has rushed for 148 yards and taken a back seat. Lloyd’s explosive gameplay and Williams’ excellence enable both players to reach their full potential.
In the game against Colorado, USC got off to a great start by scoring on their first drive. They completed a 6-play, 75-yard drive, with Lloyd running 27 yards for a touchdown. This marks the fifth consecutive game in which the Trojans have scored on their first drive this season. Lloyd had a total of 84 rushing yards in the game, following his impressive 154-yard performance against Arizona State.
Despite LeBron James not being able to attend the game as planned, he watched from afar and was delighted by Lloyd’s celebration after scoring in the endzone. James took to social media to share the “Silencer” celebration and left Lloyd feeling amazed.
His mom texted him and told him about LeBron James posting it on Instagram after the game, and he said, “I’m like, oh my god.” he continued to say how shocked he was after the traction he got after the game. He also talked about former USC running back Reggie Bush. He said, “This is crazy; I had goosebumps because that is something Reggie Bush would have done.” after he cut back for his 27-yard score. Lloyd did mention that Riley did not like him doing the celebration.
What seems to be the issue with the Trojans defense?
Following their victory against Colorado, the team expressed dissatisfaction with their defense, which nearly allowed the opposing team to take the lead. The Trojans started strong, scoring 14 points in the first quarter and maintaining their lead by only allowing 14 points in the first half against Sanders’ offense.
The defense allowed 564 total yards as they were short of a touchdown score falling 48-41. These are the most yards giving by Grinch’s defense since joining the Trojans last year.
USC LB Mason Cobb was the top performer for the Trojans with 13 tackles. Additionally, Jamil Muhammad, DL De’jon Benton, and Romello Height each got a sack. In the second quarter, Eric Gentry successfully blocked a punt which was then recovered by Height.
It was unsatisfying for the team to give up 41 points despite only scoring 6 points against Oregon the previous week. However, they left Boulder with a much-needed win for Grinch after his defense’s performance. There are major concern surrounding this team as we look for USC to go 6-0 in the season as they Arizona this upcoming Saturday.
The USC football team currently holds a tie for first place in the nation for tackles resulting in a loss, with a total of 41.0. Additionally, they are ranked third nationally for sacks achieved, with 16.0. However, while their defense appears impressive on paper, their recent on-field performance suggests that they may struggle to keep up with the competition from other top teams in the country.
Christian Roland-Wallace intercepted Shedeur Sanders in the first quarter, marking his first interception of the season and third of his career.
During the game, USC permitted the opposing team to rush for a total of 193 yards, despite the fact that they were only averaging under 60 yards per game. After the game, some of the defensive players spoke to the media and expressed their frustration. Bryson Shaw missed a crucial opportunity to make a big play on 4th down and was disappointed in the team’s overall performance, calling it “embarrassing” and “unacceptable”. It’s worth noting that USC Safety Max Williams did not dress for the game, which provided Shaw with the opportunity to step up in a major way.
This week, Alex Grinch returned to practice with his team and received a visit from former player Tuli Tuipulotu on Wednesday. Tuipulotu, who now plays for the Chargers, came back to Howard Jones Field to catch up with his old team and appeared to be enjoying himself as he took several pictures with the current Trojans.
Caleb Williams crowns himself as the king
The Trojans secured a 48-41 win against the Buffaloes, thanks to the impressive performance of their quarterback Caleb Williams. Being the defending Heisman Trophy winner, Williams showcased his exceptional skills and proved to be one of the best players in the nation. He led Lincoln Riley’s dynamic offense and put up incredible numbers in the first five games of the season.
During the game, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James got involved via social media. James was thrilled to see Williams do a familiar celebration on the field, paying homage to him. Williams finished the game with a monster stat line, outshining Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders. He threw for 403 passing yards and six touchdowns with just one interception on 30-for-40 completions. In comparison, Sanders went 30-for-45 for 371 passing yards and four touchdowns with one interception.
The Trojans are doing exceptionally well in the 2023 college football season with their recent win on Saturday. They now have an unbeaten record of 5-0, including three victories in conference play. USC football started their Pac-12 schedule with impressive wins against the Stanford Cardinal and the Arizona State Sun Devils before defeating the Buffaloes. Their next game is against the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Williams is a top contender for the Heisman Trophy due to his exceptional performance this season. His recent game against Colorado has only increased his chances of winning it again. Although he doesn’t focus on the award, Williams understands the importance of maintaining consistency on the field.
Since Archie Griffin won the Heisman trophy in 1974 and 1975, several players have had chances to win it back-to-back. Bryce Young, the quarterback for Alabama, finished sixth in the voting after winning the award in 2021. Lamar Jackson came in third place in 2017, a year after he won the trophy. Tim Tebow also finished third and fifth in the voting after winning the Heisman in 2007.
Despite the presence of playmakers such as Tahj Washington, Mario Williams, and Brenden Rice for Williams to throw to, USC’s defense may pose a threat to his repeat bid if they cannot improve their tackling and performance against a formidable opponent.