Mike MacIntyre is a lot like the average fan when it comes to watching football.
The first-year Colorado coach admitted he doesn't often focus his attention to the offensive line when he's watching film. It's a bit of a surprising admission coming from a head coach but it's not a huge surprise considering MacIntyre's an old secondary guy.
Yet, as he turned on the film of Southern Cal early this week in preparation for the No. 23 Trojans' visit to Folsom Field on Saturday night (7:37 p.m., Pac-12 Network), he couldn't help but take notice of the big boys up front who pave the way for the USC offense.
"Their offensive linemen are very athletic and talented," MacIntyre said in one of several interviews this week in which he raved about that same group of Trojans.
USC comes to town riding a four-game wining streak and fresh off an upset of Stanford in a very physical game last week.
MacIntyre is clearly impressed with the Trojans offensive line to the point that you might expect to see an offensive juggernaut on Saturday night. But as well the USC offensive line is playing, it hasn't translated to Oregon-like output.
The Trojans rank 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (28.2), ninth in total offense, seventh in rushing and 10th in passing this season.
"It's going to be the best offensive line, I think, that we play all year," senior defensive lineman Chidera Uzo-Diribe said. "Those guys, they're big, they're physical, so it's going to be a challenge for us."
Uzo-Diribe and fellow senior Nate Bonsu said what makes the Trojans so good is how well they play together an execute assignments whether it be combo blocks or zone blocking.
Tackle Kevin Graf and center Marcus Martin are completing their third season as starters. Guard Max Tuerk and Aundrey Walker were co-starters in 2012. The one new guy, redshirt freshman Chad Wheeler has been steady in his first season at left tackle and also has a blocked field goal on his resume.
It's isn't a heavy group -- Martin is the only starter listed at more than 300 pounds -- but as MacIntyre noted, it's a line that beats opponents with superior athleticism.
"They're running downhill," Bonsu said. "That's what they want to do. Everybody in the stadium is going to know what they want to do before they do it. So we've got to be physical, we've got to surge on the line and we've got to get off blocks and make tackles."
The Trojans have thrown for at least six touchdowns the past two seasons against the Buffs and they're capable of doing so again, especially if wide receiver Marqise Lee is healthy enough to play.
But the Buffs must first prove they can stop the USC running game. CU ranks 103rd in the nation in rushing defense and 108th against the pass.
So how does a unit that hasn't been able to slow down elite offenses often enough this season suddenly overcome an offensive front that it identifies as its toughest test of the year.
"We have to make sure that we're the same way," Uzo-Diribe said. "Make sure that we're detail oriented, sound in our technique against the run game because if we're sound holding the line off our linebackers that gives them time to come and make plays."