Originally written on Subway Domer  |  Last updated 11/3/14
Earlier this week, Lane Kiffin announced that Matt Barkley would not play in Saturday's game against Notre Dame. With Barkley out, the Trojans' upset hopes now rest on the arm of redshirt freshman Max Wittek. Wittek only has nine pass attempts for the season and has taken limited snaps in his young career. With a redshirt freshman at the helm and the Irish likely to play a lot of soft zone coverage behind a stout front seven, look for the Trojans to attack the perimeter of the Irish defense with an array of bubble screens, hitches, outs and other quick pass plays. These types of plays are low risk and can build a young quarterback's confidence. Perhaps more importantly, they can get USC's talented receivers in one-on-one matchups and force defenders to tackle in space. Let's look at a few examples of how USC attacks the perimeter with quick passes. The first play comes from the season opener against Hawaii. It's a good illustration of the "smoke" concept. The smoke concept is a one-step hitch by the receiver on the backside of a designed run play. If the corner gives the receiver too much cushion and the flat defender lines up too far inside, the quarterback has the option of immediately throwing the ball to the receiver. The Trojans line up in a single-back formation with Marquis Lee split wide to the top of the screen. Hawaii has eight men in the box and a safety creeping toward the line of scrimmage to provide additional run support. Barkley recognizes that Lee is isolated against a corner playing soft coverage and gets the ball outside immediately. Although the corner crashes hard, Lee cuts inside and has open field ahead of him. The safety is late rotating over and the simple "look" pass ends up being a big-chunk play for the Trojans. With Lee, Robert Woods and Nelson Agholor on the outside, the Trojans will win a lot of these one-on-one matchups in space. The next play comes from the 2011 Notre Dame game. While the previously play illustrates how a quarterback can read the defense at the line of scrimmage and attack its structural weakness, this play is a designed wide receiver screen all the way. Here, the Trojans line up with an empty backfield. Notre Dame counters with a base 3-4. The Irish corners are giving Woods and Lee big cushions, and the safeties are playing 12-15 yards off the line. The tight end motions toward the boundary to give Woods an additional blocker. Woods catches the ball with no defender within 5 yards and quickly turns up field. At this point, it looks like the linebackers rotating over will be able to hold him to a minimal gain. Woods picks up a few solid blocks, but he ultimately gets free because both Carlo Calabrese and Manti Te'o take bad angles. Harrison Smith finally tracks Woods down after he picks up 19 on the play. This play demonstrates the importance of the Irish linebackers and safeties taking the proper pursuit angles on Saturday. USC cannot make a living on 5-6 yard pass plays, but the Trojans have the athleticism to make the Irish pay for not playing sound on the perimeter. Conclusion Although USC will take some shots downfield on Saturday, the Trojans will have plenty of opportunities to throw underneath. Much like the Oklahoma game, look for Notre Dame's defense to keep everything in front of them and force the Trojans to sustain drives. For this philosophy to work, it will be up to Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell  to minimize the yards after catch when the Trojans get the ball to the perimeter. If Jackson and Russell can't make the play, they must keep contain and force the play back inside. Brian Kelly said it best, the key to an Irish victory will be “[t]ackle, tackle, tackle, tackle, and tackle.” Go Irish! Beat Trojans!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Pete Carroll empathizes with Belichick, Pats in Deflategate

Max Scherzer thanks Tigers with full page newspaper ad

Ray Lewis: Patriots should have asterisk for cheating

Report: Cavs players believed team lacked depth

Richard Sherman calls out Kraft, Goodell over their friendship


Brandon Jennings to miss 6-9 months with Achilles injury

Report: Josh Gordon tests positive for alcohol

Report: Yankees reject A-Rod's request for apology meeting

Jim Harbaugh has landed three recruits in 24 hours

Report: NFL tried to catch Patriots in the act

John Harbaugh: Bill Belichick is best coach of this century

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Opposing Packers celebrate Pro Bowl TD

WATCH: Sherman, Peterson hug it out at Pro Bowl

WATCH: Chris Berman is not happy at the Pro Bowl

PHOTO: Brock Lesnar's tramp stamp says ‘Kill ‘em All’

WATCH: Hassan Whiteside blocks five shots in 7 minutes

Duke unveils 'K' hats after Coach K's 1,000th victory

Irina Shayk dumped Ronaldo over cheating rumors?

Mike Napoli almost retired because of sleep apnea

WATCH: 'Saturday Night Live' takes on Deflategate

Should Tom Izzo be worried about his Spartans?

Five potentially fatal flaws for Seahawks in the Super Bowl

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Chris Berman isn't happy at the Pro Bowl

Brandon Jennings out 6-9 months

Josh Gordon tests positive for alcohol

Report: A-Rod's apology meeting request gets rejected

Harbaugh rapidly landing recruits

WATCH: 'SNL' spoofs Deflategate

NFL tried to catch Pats in act?

Bill Nye: Belichick didn't make sense

Is it time for Tom Izzo to worry?

Jennings suffers horrific injury

Seahawks GM: I love Lynch's act

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.