As the pro football teams get ready for their draft this spring, the big need this year seems to be for defensive players who can rush the passer. Most of you know, the Bengals were woeful on quarterback sacks last year. The new kid on the block seems to be a double A gap pressure package. To the novice fan, the defensive team puts a linebacker on each side of the center and hope they get a direct path to the quarterback.The key to sacks is how little time you take to hit the quarterback. In the double A gap defense, you can put immediate pressure on the quarterback and force the offense to keep an additional blocker in the backfield. Teams like to use this defense against quarterbacks like Tom Brady. Most teams put a tight end in the backfield. Of course, this eliminates one of the pass receivers that the quarterback can throw to.The Bengals are talking about acquiring such a pass rusher either from the upcoming draft or from the free agent market. We will see how successful they are.
Not surprisingly, the Trojans played excellent defense for most of the night. But in what has become an all-too-familiar scene, they fell flat on their faces on the other side of the ball.Old guard · Senior guard Mike Gerrity led the Trojans with 13 points in his final appearance at the Galen Center during Senior Night on Saturday. The departing Trojans received a standing ovation from the crowd. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan Even on Senior Night, the USC men’s basketball team couldn’t muster enough energy to bounce back from a 10-point loss two days earlier to Oregon. The Trojans (16-12, 8-8) fell victim to yet another poor second-half effort, shooting a dismal 29 percent from the field and falling, 49-44 to Oregon State (13-15, 7-9) on Saturday at the Galen Center.“Definitely not the way I envisioned us going out,” said senior guard Mike Gerrity, who led USC with 13 points on 4 of 12 shooting in his final home game.Gerrity, senior guard Dwight Lewis, senior forward Marcus Johnson and redshirt junior forward Kasey Cunningham, who has decided not to return next season after multiple knee injuries, received a standing ovation in the pregame ceremony honoring the Trojans’ outgoing players.But after Oregon State center Roeland Schaftenaar drained four late free throws and USC missed multiple last-minute shots, a hushed crowd at the Galen Center immediately headed for the exits.“It was disappointing how the game turned out,” Lewis said. “You don’t want to leave a beautiful stadium with a loss.”Like so many other teams, Oregon State struggled to put up points against the Trojans. But USC had even more issues facing the Beavers’ pesky zone defense, squandering an early 11-point lead and making just five shots in the second half.“The zones we’ve come against have been active, getting in passing lanes and contesting shots and making us [commit] a lot of turnovers,” Lewis said.When asked whether fatigue played a factor in the outcome, USC coach Kevin O’Neill didn’t have a definitive answer, saying instead that being tired would not pass as an excuse for the team’s poor playThe Trojans certainly looked tired for much of the game. Careless cross-court passes led to turnovers and easy scores for the Beavers. Shots caromed off the rim. Missed layups turned into fast break opportunities for Oregon State.Though his coach and teammates wouldn’t admit the same, sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic agreed that USC was beginning to feel the toll of a physical season.“We did feel a little tired and we don’t have a lot of rotations, so as time accumulated, we get worn out and we can’t keep up the same intensity for 40 minutes,” Vucevic said.Other than Gerrity, only Lewis managed to score more than six points, finishing with 11. Sophomore forward Leonard Washington had six points and eight rebounds.For the Beavers, guard Seth Tarver led all scorers with 14 points, making 6 of 9 shots from the field. Guards Calvin Haynes and Josh Tarver added eight points apiece.USC entered halftime with a 25-24 lead. Sloppy play was an early trend for both teams, with the Trojans committing 12 turnovers and Oregon State giving up nine of its own before the break.The Beavers seized control early in the second half, opening with an 11-4 run to take the lead for good. Gerrity’s layup with 34 seconds remaining cut the deficit to 46-44, but from there Oregon State closed out the game at the free-throw line.“You’re supposed to win at home if you only give up 49 points,” O’Neill said. “We just didn’t get it done.”With two games left, the Trojans will attempt to salvage what little remains of their season this week on the road against the Arizona schools. California defeated Arizona State on Saturday, ending USC’s hopes of earning a share of the Pac-10 regular season title.“I think we got a bounce-back in us — one last one,” Lewis said.