Roundtable: Most important offensive stat

The Trojans will be using an up-tempo offense for the first time this season. What will be the most notable statistic to keep an eye on from the offense in 2014?

Garry Paskwietz: Rushing yardage. I don’t think there is any number from the Washington offense last season that jumps out to me more than the school record 1,870 rushing yards produced by Bishop Sankey. To put it in perspective for USC fans, the last time the Trojans had a running back beat that number was Marcus Allen in 1981. New coach Steve Sarkisian has promised a run-first approach to his offense, and with Buck Allen, Tre Madden and Justin Davis at his disposal, it’s easy to think that he will be able to deliver, provided the offensive line can do its job.

Johnny Curren: I think the stat that will jump out to most will be the sheer number of plays that the offense will run each game. As we saw this spring, the offense went at a lightning-quick pace, churning out up to 120 plays per practice session. For most onlookers who grew accustomed to viewing Lane Kiffin’s slower, more methodical scheme, it certainly took some getting used to. Utilizing a similar up-tempo system at Washington, Sarkisian was able to run an average of 81 plays per game in 2013. In contrast, USC ran just 68.4 plays per game. If the Trojans can mirror what Washington did last season in this regard, that obviously means greater opportunities for USC’s playmakers to rack up what will hopefully be more yards, and more importantly, more points. It certainly worked that way for the Huskies. Washington finished last season ranked No. 13 in the FBS in total offense and No. 18 in scoring offense, well ahead of the Trojans in both categories.

Greg Katz: It should be the number of offensive plays run. Isn’t that one of the main selling points of Sarkisian’s offense? If you judge by what one saw in the spring, it’s safe to say that the number of plays this season compared to last season should go up significantly. Another unknown with the new no-huddle offense will be whether the scoring average per game this season significantly increases from last season.