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USC Football

YAY Or Nay: The Trojans Are Ready For Fall Camp

October 8, 2020

Anything less than a conference championship will be considered a failed season.

YAY--We can discuss all the different reasons why 2020 shouldn’t count or how the eventual winner will have an asterisk next to their name.  There’s going to be plenty of time for that debate during and well after the season, so regardless of the legitimacy, anything less than a conference crown should be considered a failure.  Clay Helton said yesterday the team is focused on winning a championship and they’ve displayed their commitment going all the way back to July and workouts, making the necessary sacrifices.

USC’s schedule seems like it was custom-made to make life easy, and with the best QB and offense in the conference returning mostly in tact, there are no excuses save for one.  Not gonna say it...not gonna put the bad mojo out there, however, we all know the one player the Trojans cannot afford to lose under any circumstances.

For the last two weeks heading into fall camp USC’s staff have been installing new schemes and systems.

YAY--We may not get to see it, however, 12-hours a week for the last two weeks the staff has been getting the team prepared in all three phases installing their systems.  This is huge considering fall camp officially opens this Friday.  

During yesterday’s meet the P12 conference coaches webinar, aka PAC-12 Media Day, Clay Helton, made it very clear how important the two weeks leading into fall camp were for new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s defense...Sean Snyder and special well as being prepared for year-2 with Graham Harrell’s offense.  

Without the benefit of spring camp and a shortened summer environment, the next five weeks will be all hands on deck as the team prepares for Arizona State.

The Pac-12 teams will play all 7 games on their schedule.

NAY–As much as I want to believe it will happen the decision will be out of the control of the coaches and schools.  When Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was asked the question Wednesday morning his response wasn’t exactly dripping with confidence when he said,  "We’ll just cross our fingers and hope for the best."  

As it would turn out Whittingham’s answer would end up being the general sentiment throughout the day, and if I were a betting man removing every ounce of emotion from the equation, I’d agree.  

Flip a coin.

The PAC-12 head coaches are all on the same page.

NAY--One of the most frequently asked questions during Wednesday’s Pac-12 ZOOM Media Day was, should the PAC-12 champion be considered for the college football playoff discussion due to their truncated schedule.  

For those of you familiar with the differences, the contrast in conference unity and solidarity between the PAC-12 and the SEC could not be any more different.  

In the SEC each coach would have a prepared answer selling the “$#*t” out of the conference, making every excuse in the book was used as to why the SEC should be involved.   One thing was clear to me listening to the PAC-12 coaches when they were asked if the the PAC-12 conference should be considered for the playoffs...they don’t know what to say.

What we were left with was a hodge podge of answers from each coach.   Cal coach Justin Wilcox, basically said could not care any less even though he understood the question.--It just wasn’t important to him because he’s still trying to make sure the Bears will be able to practice under their county guidelines.   Stanford Coach, David Shaw, “Nobody knows.”  and Chip Kelly’s, “I don’t know” was probably the most non-committal response.   For whatever reason, maybe because Clay Helton was the first one up yesterday the question was never asked.

The PAC-12 conference has no idea of how to sell itself.--If the P12 were selling a car it would be trying to sell a GMC Gremlin.

I suppose I appreciate the candid answers, however, there’s a time and place for candor.  If Step 1 was to schedule like the SEC, then Step 2 should be sell like the SEC.

Drake Jackson is now officially a linebacker.

YAY–USC realeased an updated version of their 2020 Trojan Football Media Guide, and there have been some “official” position changes.  Most notably, Drake Jackson, is no longer listed as a hybrid DE/LB.--The Drake is listed only as a linebacker now, however, his versatility will allow him to be moved closer to the line of scrimmage from a more convential defensive end position.  

I wish I could have listened in on the discussion when Coach Orlando approached defensive line coach Coach Vic So’oto about the idea. 

One of the things Clay Helton touched on during the webinar from Wednesday was how Coach Orlando is using the personnel on the roster to maximize their potential and get pressure on the opposing quarterback.   With Coach Orlando’s history of quick fixes and making improvements, the Trojan defense with so many returning pieces should make an immediate impact which will be needed for game one.

Other players to keep an eye on regarding position changes will be in the secondary where the nickleback and safety positions are being groomed to Coach Orlando’s defensive stylings.  A couple of names who have had the nickelback tag removed from their designation include RS. Fr., Max Williams and Greg Johnson who are now listed as safeties only.

My intrigue in the early going will be with Isaac Taylor-Stuart who has made it all the way back from knee surgery and has also transformed his body into a Taylor Mays clone.  Donte Williams must be licking his chops with the prospects of Chris Steele controlling one side of the field along with a 6-4, 230lb cornerback with blazing track speed on the other side. 

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