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USC Vs. Arizona: Trojans To Play More Nickel?

As the USC Trojans head to Tucson this weekend, they will have their hands full facing Nike Foles and the passing attack of the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona, ranked 18th in the latest BCS standings, leads the Pac-10 conference in passing offense, averaging 294.8 yards per game. USC ranks last in the conference in pass defense, giving up 276.4 yards per contest.

The Trojans played a lot of nickel defense on Saturday night against Arizona State, rotating linebackers Chris Galippo, Malcolm Smith, Michael Morgan, and Devon Kennard in and out of the game, keeping them fresh. The Trojans allowed 33 points to the Sun Devils, but head coach Lane Kiffin was pleased with the way his defense played at times. "As you go back to the Arizona State game, we gave up the first touchdown, then went seven possessions with six punts and an interception return for a touchdown," Kiffin said, "That's championship defense; we just have to do it for a full game."

Freshman Dillon Baxter got the start at tailback against ASU, and Kiffin was pleased with his game, noting that the stats were misleading (52 yards on 17 carries), and that Baxter had a 30-yard run negated by a holding call. "For a first start, he was consistent and, most importantly, didn't turn the ball over," Kiffin said. This week, the depth chart is rather vague noting that the start at tailback could go to either Baxter, Allen Bradford, or Marc Tyler. Either way, expect all three to get carries against Arizona.

Junior Michael Reardon got his first start of the season, at left guard against ASU, and graded as the best offensive lineman on the team Saturday night, per Kiffin. Either Reardon or Butch Lewis are expected to start against the Wildcats.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.