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USC Trojans vs Alabama Crimson Tide 9/3/2016

03 SEP 2016: Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Reuben Foster (10) tackles USC Trojans running back Justin Davis (22) off his feet during the game between the USC Trojans and the Alabama Crimson Tide at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

Scouting Notes

USC Trojans vs Alabama Crimson Tide 9/3/2016

Kyle Crabbs’ Scouting Notes: Southern California Trojans v. Alabama Crimson Tide

Saturday, September 3, 2016

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Score:  Alabama 52, Southern California 6


Notable Prospects Entering the Contest

Alabama Offense

Calvin Ridley, WR, (Prep) Sophomore, #3: Ridley was kept in check largely by SC DB Adoree Jackson. Ridley had a hard time finding space, both as a receiver (2 rec, 9 yards) and as a returner (3 punt returns for 4 yards). Ridley showed the same movement skills and looseness that he put on display throughout last year’s breakout season but he was matched up against speedy kick units and defensive backs so his wins on routes were not as frequent; the Trojans appeared to determine they were not going to let Ridley beat them vertically and played him with cushion often.

Stock: Same

O.J. Howard, TE, Senior, #88: No surprise here: Howard has a large chunk reception but is otherwise a non-factor in the passing game, much like last year. Howard was active and effective as a blocker, coming across the formation and working directly at the point of attack. As the QB situation settles in Alabama, look for Howard to potentially be a larger factor.

Stock: Same

Cam Robinson, OT, Junior, #74: Robinson is off to a better start than last year; picking up where he left off during the Crimson Tide stretch run in 2015. Robinson consistently played with a stronger, wider base than he initially implemented in 2015. This allowed him to mirror defenders better. Robinson is still leaving room for improvement from the standpoint of his ability to sustain blocks but his angles, feet and base of support picked up right where they left off at the end of last year and that’s a vital component to his draft status.

Stock: Same

Alabama Defense

Jon Allen, DE, Senior, #93: Allen was a dominant force along the front. He looked just as quick initially and was able to shift laterally to shut down running lanes and gaps against the run. As a pass rusher, Allen showed the ability to kick inside and get hip to hip early in pass rushes (he also won a number of times working the edge track along the boundary). This polish and combined power/athleticism was on display just as frequently last year, which is why there’s no change in stock status here: being a dominant force is nothing new to Allen.

Stock: Same

Reuben Foster, MLB, Senior #10: Foster looks leaner and more agile this year, which is a scary thought when considering he still has the pop in his pads. Foster did very well for himself carrying TEs and backs into space; he effectively mirrored and worked into phase against skill players in the middle of the field on a number of occasions throughout the game. This added development, provided it continues, will be a huge bump in Foster’s pro prospects, as he would be an asset on all three downs going forward if this game proves not to be an aberration.

Stock: Up

Eddie Jackson, SAF, Senior, #4: Jackson was not tested very much against an inept passing offense after the first two possessions. Jackson did show strong angles and was regularly in position to make a play on a receiver at the catch point provided the ball were delivered accurately. Jackson did show up in the slot on occasion as well, playing some man to man in empty sets. With Jackson’s history at CB, it’s great to see the team is still willing to ask him to contribute in man coverage. Jackson’s burst and range were on display; a quiet but strong showing.

Stock: Same

USC Offense

Justin Davis, RB, Senior, #22: Davis underwhelmed on a number of fronts. First off, Davis’ skill set was one I was enamored with this summer but it’s disappointing to see him be diminished to such a non-factor. Davis struggled to find yards on his limited touches as well. I entered the season with the impression that Davis could be a potential starting RB. He’s going to need to earn more touches and do more with them going forward.

Stock: Down

Zach Banner, OT, Senior, #73: Banner was popped with a false start and had a very difficult time with his angles in pass protection. Banner did not appropriately compensate for the discrepancy in burst/speed of the Alabama pass rushers in comparison to his own personal skill set and as a result his technique was compromised and/or he was beaten at initial contact. While these issues are not new, his struggles in the running game were a bit more glaring and troubling. Banner had little effect trying to scrape and engage defenders laterally along the LOS; regularly being a non-factor when the ball was kept on the ground due to the stoutness of the Crimson Tide defensive interior.

Stock: Down

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Junior, #9: Smith-Schuster, much like Calvin Ridley, struggled to separate against the speed and physicality of Minkah Fitzpatrick. Smith-Schuster tallied a single reception for 9 yards and was otherwise blanketed throughout various levels of the field. The Trojan passing offense did him no favors but this was a game to forget.

Stock: Same

USC Defense

Adoree Jackson, CB, Junior, #2: Jackson was able to make an impact against the run and pass (plus in the return game). Jackson is a fun athlete with explosive acceleration to pop off the screen; he is able and willing to use it with the ball in his hand or to drive on targets. Where Jackson earned his keep the most this week was being a force against the run as well, he was quick to close and tackled above his weight class inside the box. A strong performance from a historically strong performer.

Stock: Same

Best Players on the Field: Ardarius Stewart, WR (Alabama); Jon Allen, DL; Eddie Jackson, CB; Adoree Jackson, CB

Forgettable Performances: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR; Calvin Ridley, WR; Max Browne, QB (USC

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Kyle Crabbs

Kyle Crabbs is the founder/Director of Scouting of NDT Scouting Services, a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the lead NFL Draft analyst for the FanRag Sports Network.

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