Linebacker Speed

This game offered the first real glimpse of why the coaches made the move of putting Lamar Dawson into the starting line-up. This is the most overall speed at linebacker for USC in years. Dawson showed tremendous sideline-to-sideline speed in the opening part of the game and played a big role in preventing Chris Polk from getting off to a fast start.

The linebacker unit as a whole showed a lot of athleticism, and this was on a day when Dion Bailey was clearly still impacted by the effects of his recent concussion. Bailey – the leading tackler for the Trojans – only had two tackles in the game. Hayes Pullard was steady with seven tackles while Dawson added three tackles along with a sack.

One of the reasons the coaches made the switch to Dawson was for the test that is upcoming next week in Oregon. One element you will need on defense against them is speed, and this starting group gives USC the best chance for success.

Let’s also give credit in the Washington game to Chris Galippo and Shane Horton - two seniors who are playing behind the freshmen in reserve roles yet showed tremendous emotion and energy when they were on the field for defense or special teams. Horton had four tackles and Galippo added two of his own.