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Q&A with Conquest Chronicles: Expert analyzes USC

Arizona v USC Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats and USC Trojans will square off in Tucson on Saturday in a crucial Pac-12 South divisional game.

Both squads are 2-2, though Arizona is 1-0 in conference play while the Trojans are 1-1.

We took our first peek at USC on Tuesday, but we wanted to learn a little bit more about them, so we asked our sister site Conquest Chronicles for some insight.

Here is our Q&A with editor Matthew Lowry.

After a 2-2 start, how does the USC fanbase feel about Clay Helton?

The USC fan base hasn’t been too keen on Clay Helton and his staff lately. I think the fan base is upset at how the way the Trojans have looked in games lately. Many of the fans point their fingers at coaching right now. A loss this weekend will magnify things towards his coaching staff.

How has the reaction been to JT Daniels’ first few starts?

The reaction has been pretty positive. Many know that he’s an 18-year-old freshman, however the preseason expectations have been tempered a lot following the Stanford and Texas games. Daniels has put up good numbers but at times looked like a freshman in the spotlight. I believe many USC fans saw that coming and can live with it.

Which of USC’s running backs do you feel is the most dangerous?

Stephen Carr is the most dangerous because he’s shifty and has breakaway speed that’s hard to defend. This season he has shown the ability to make things happen when he gets the ball. If there’s anyone who can change things in an instant, it’s Carr.

The Trojans are a blue blood program that consistently pulls in big names. Who is a lesser known impact player for USC?

Vavae Malepeai is a guy who won’t get major attention however he’ll get the job done on the ground. Malepeai is tough between the tackles and can gash defenses every now and then too.

USC’s defense is a huge strength. Do you think they can stop this Wildcat offense?

If you were to ask me this question before the second half of the Texas game then the answer would be yes. However, USC has shown the inability to create pressure on the quarterback the last three games. That spells bad news against Khalil Tate. I don’t doubt that the defense can do, but given that they’ve had issues in creating pressure and USC is known to give up a big play, that’s a big question mark at this moment.

What, if anything, makes you nervous about Arizona?

Khalil Tate. While running back J.J. Taylor has taken a huge bulk of the carries, Tate is still a quarterback who gives me nightmares when USC faces Arizona. He can pass, he can run, he just makes plays. He can also turn the game around in an instant.

Lastly, score prediction for the game?

I think this game has the potential to go either way right now. However I think USC offensively will find their rhythm and outlast the Wildcats in a decent scoring game. I’m going 38-28 Trojans in Tucson.