Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor
Overstated as it may be, the USC defense has been the most positive thing to come out of the first two weeks of this football season for the Trojans. The unit is first in the country in rush defense (allowing 15 yards per game) and sacks (11 total) and has forced seven turnovers already. While Saturday's result was less than ideal, the defense continued to shine and several players emerged as consistent playmakers, including Torin Harris.
"This is probably the most consistent I've seen him play," said defensive coordinator and secondary coach Clancy Pendergast of the senior cornerback. "There were some inconsistencies through the course of spring and fall camp but I think Saturday was the most complete game I've seen him play and definitely the most complete sequences of plays I've seen since my time here."
Harris is the most experienced player in this year's secondary, coming into the season with nine starts, 60 tackles, eight deflections, and one interception. He's already grabbed an interception, had four pass breakups, and recorded 11 tackles in the Trojans' first two games. Against the Cougars, he might have played the best game of his career with six tackles, two pass breakups and one interception.
"I've improved in everything all over the field; from man to zone to physicality to coming up and tackling. My whole game has changed," said Harris. "I like everything Coach Pendergast has done. His schemes are really great. A lot of man and a lot of cover 2. We get a mixture of everything."
From the outside it appears frustrating for a defense to continually perform at such a high level while its offense is still getting their wheels turning, but Harris says Pendergast's unit is unfazed, going to work week after week.
"It's not about who's next or who you played before but what's going on in the moment," said Harris. "It's about this week and this team and focusing on what we need to do as a defense."
The Trojans have put last week's misfortune behind them and now turn their attention to visiting Boston College on Saturday. The Eagles have only played in the Coliseum once but will arrive in Los Angeles a 2-0 team looking to make a statement. In its opening victories against Villanova and Wake Forest, Boston College successfully attacked through the air and on the ground, though this week's test against a stout Trojan defense will assuredly be among the Eagles toughest this season.