To a certain extent, every gameday opponent requires a certain degree of film study. However, some opponents demand more film study than others. A coaching staff has to teach its players how to study film and becom better students of the game, but some opponents should not exhaust every available minute. Other opponents need to be studied in greater depth and detail.
The Rice Owls are an obvious example of an opponent which shouldn’t take every ounce of the USC Trojans’ time in the film room. Yes, they need to be studied, but let’s put it this way: No one should be sweating the finer details. USC should be able to handle the Owls with basic packages on both offense and defense. This is why the Trojans scheduled an easy opener: to ease players into the schemes and systems, to not overburden them in Game 1 of the Lincoln Riley-Alex Grinch era.
Players should be able to win individual matchups. USC should have more power and more speed, winning physical battles and reducing the need for cleverness in formations and play selection.
USC is playing Rice this Saturday, but the Trojans are dealing with a situation where Stanford is just around the bend in Week 2. Lincoln Riley needs to get through this game by giving David Shaw very little, if anything, to study for the Pac-12 season opener. Why tip one’s hand? Why show formations or tendencies Stanford can identify?
We discussed this and more with Mark Rogers at The Voice of College Football: