Gorman: USO's passing attack one for the record book
By Kevin Gorman
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 11:03 p.m.
LaRoi Johnson laughs at the suggestion that USO's eye-popping pass game is the product of a frustrated tight end.
But he doesn't deny it.
“That's exactly what it is,” said Johnson, a former Peabody star who is USO's playcaller. “All my life, I looked at the City League and its lack of passing and thought, if you could take the athletes and teach them college concepts you can be really dangerous.”
So dangerous that USO quarterback Ron Brown has passed for 1,337 yards in three games, an average of 445.7 yards per. The Westinghouse transfer passed for 525 yards against Carrick, the second-most yards in state history.
Carrick coach Craig Aguglia was impressed by both Brown and receiver Marcus Johnson. Aguglia compares Brown's throwing motion to that of City League legend Major Harris, and called one of Johnson's catches “amazing.”
What Aguglia didn't appreciate was USO attempting 36 passes during the 52-21 victory. Did he think USO was trying to pad its players' statistics?
“You're up 30 points and you're still throwing the ball?” he said. “I'm not saying we would have won the game — they are a talented football team, probably the best in the City — but were they pumping up their stats? Yes, by all means.”
Johnson has heard similar complaints around the City, given his constant no-huddle offense.
“Here's my response to that: We are a passing team,” Johnson said, reminding that USO won the 2011 City title led by 1,700-yard rusher Jaylen Coleman but has since had to reinvent its offense. “Our biggest kid is 240 pounds. We have an undersized line. We're not moving people. We don't have a choice but to take advantage of our undersized guys.”
That involves five-receiver sets and substituting bubble screens for runs in an up-tempo offense based upon Oregon's pace and SMU's spread.
That's not to suggest USO's offense is complex. Johnson said his playbook has only nine pass plays but, using his arena football playing experience, they are loaded with option routes and have one player tagged to run a different route.
“They're not just satisfied with the catch,” he said. “We're trying to score every time we touch the ball.”
USO faces its first true test Thursday against City League rival Brashear.
We'll soon find out then if this record-setting run is the real deal or just a passing fancy.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Senator: CIA improperly searched computer network
- Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
- Marcellus shale driller Noble Energy Inc. sinks roots into Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh woman’s death at Drexel probed as possible meningitis
- Job cuts at AGH part of ‘strategic’ process
- Machine traps, injures man’s arm at North Strabane industrial plant
- Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to threat against Obama
- Penguins notebook: Heralded Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov debuts with Capitals