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USC Football

Fall Camp: Day 4 Notes & Observations W/Todd Orlando

October 14, 2020

Today was all about defense and Coach Orlando brought along Brandon Pili and Marlon Tuipulotu this morning to share some of their thoughts after the first handful of days of fall camp.   (full video below courtesy of USC Athletics)

Cardinal & Gold sunglasses firmly on the face.  Done!  

Big smile.  Check!

Full on Sunshine Pumper Mode.   Activated!

After listening to defensive coordinator, Todd Orlando, offer his first Trojan fall camp report this morning all I can say, “WOW!!”  

Coach I allowed to say Coach O when referring to Todd Orlando and USC in the same sentence?  The hell with it.   I’m bringing it just like Coach Orlando did this morning.   Coach Orlando, was in beast mode, and I get the impression he’s always in beast mode.  It’s just a vibe he gives off when he’s talking. and hopefully we’ll be allowed to see it up close and personal on the practice field.  However, until the day happens when this 53-year old gets to watch like an “8-year old”, ZOOM sessions will have to suffice. 

What i love so far about Coach O is his “let’s get right at” style with his quick remarks and then tackling the questions within one minute of the presser starting.  I think he’s “excited” about the day because it’s the first day they get to go live.  When you watch the video below keep track of how many times Coach O uses the word “excited.”  Play a drinking game and take a shot every time you hear him say the word.  Good luck to your liver!

**95% of the packages are installed already.  Quick to praise the players and the staff for the massive amount of work they’ve done over the last 7-8 months getting to this point, and the last couple of days under thud contact have been spirited, but today will be the day.  We’ll find out when the kids are out on the field by themselves, lined up and we just let them play, we’ll find out who can tackle people...who can get off blocks...”  “Big day today.”  “Excited about it.”

**On How Drake Jackson will be utilized in his new role, Coach was quick to point out, Jackson will be playing more of a hybrid 3-4 version linebacker closer to the line, "It's a hybrid position with him. He'll be close to the Line of Scrimmage, like a 3-4 outside backer. You're gonna see him do some different things out there."  Coach really emphasized, Jackson’s athleticism and putting him in the best position to be successful.

**On the challenges of installing the defense via ZOOM; “visually, it’s hard to learn...they’re more like walk it, talk it.  In a meeting room, you can go the back of the room and do a walk-thru.”   Reflecting back, Orlando, feels it may have been a blessing because of the constant repetitive style the zoom meetings lent to the installation.

**My favorite moment with breakfast with Orlando was when coach was talking up today’s full contact practice scheduled for this afternoon when he said, “This is it...this is your resume to show that you'll play for your teammate and hit somebody...To show that you’re going to run as hard as you can for your teammate and you’re going to hit somebody.  And if you’re not…you’ll be on the sidelines with us.”   I have a feeling if that message wasn’t conveyed to the players verbally, it will resonate loud and clear by the end of the day.

**When Brandon and Marlon joined the conversation talking about their feelings about the defense and not being able to play this season with their teammate Jay Tufele.   Both agreed, the hands on approach works best for them when it comes to the installation of the defense, although it helped them a lot once they hit the after seeing it through the ZOOM sessions.  

Brandon Pili on Tufele: "Jay and Marlon, they are like my brothers. They are two of my closest friends. Seeing Jay leave, I'm very happy for him, but it left a big void in our d-line experience wise. I feel like that burden is on me as a senior of the group."

** Coach O was asked what can you learn about your guys before the pads come on?   “To me it’s just assignment.”   “It’s much do you care?”   “Ya go out there and you don’t know exactly what you’re doing after you’ve been meeting with someone for 7-months, that pretty much explains how much you care.”  “At the end of the can line up can look can do all that stuff...if you don’t run to the football and if you don’t hit somebody...ya know...that’s the game of football.”  

“Some people might run a 4.6...but when somebody is trying to hit them, they run a 4.9.  And some guys might run a 4.9, but when they’re going to hit somebody...they run a 4.6.  And that’s the beauty of this game.  It’s contact.  It’s about having a certain type of mindset when you walk on to the field.”

** Here’s the bottom line as Coach O so eloquently stated this morning...”today will tell us a lot.”  He’s looking for a certain type of mindset…how fast and how hard are you willing to go and he’s “excited” to find out.  “This is where the separation begins and we we start making our decisions.”  “Go run thru somebody!”

Did anyone else’s toes just curl up a  bit?    

There is such a dramatic difference in personality styles between last season, and in my opinion, the attitude was the missing ingredient last season on the defensive side of the ball.  I do not get the sense the “attitude” will be lost in 2020.

As you can probably tell from my initial observations, Coach O, is ready to go.  He is a football coach with an old school mentality and approach.   Period.   

I agree with Coach is a big day!  


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