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USC Football

USC Scoop’s Wednesday Notes & Observations: The Defense

November 18, 2020

Today was an unusually short day with the ZOOM media session.  It reflected the quick work of Coach Orlando and his group have achieved since the season started.  When the defense is doing their job and not making mistakes, they quickly get in and off the field.  Two players who have been responsible for the defense's resurgence in 2020 have been Drake Jackson and Ralen Goforth.  Both joined Coach T.O this morning for some questions and answers while reviewing the Arizona game and looking ahead to Utah Saturday night.

Right off the bat, "there were a lot of good things, and some things that obviously we need to correct."  The other main point from Coach Orlando's opening remarks was how proud he was of the guys overcoming the adversity with the personnel issues early in the game, referring to injuries.  The guys with "limited action really stepped up and played some incredible ball."

** On the injury front, Coach Orlando, "I turned around and Drake was on the bike, Talanoa, was somewhere else, and "I.E." was somewhere else." Orlando continued, "the team did not flinch and they found a way to adjust."

**Later in the interview the question about Marlon's durability was brought up, so Orlando addressed the concern; "Marlon Tuipulotu is a warrior, and that they’ve managed his work in practice so they can be mindful of his snaps on Saturdays."

While watching the interview, Drake Jackson was apparently auditioning for a role in the Blair Witch movie reboot, or he was getting ready for a COVID test where a tree branch is jammed up your nostril.   I love ya, Drake, however, can someone please help out for the next cameo appearance!  LOL

The guys on defense aren't about looking good anyway, although Coach Orlando did make Ralen show off his full head of hair!  Coach is right; Ralen has a monster coif to be proud of!  I remember wondering aloud if Coach Orlando ever smiled; not only does he smile, he also has a great laugh!

**1st-year starter Ralen Goforth was asked about his thoughts on how he fits in with his role, indicating, "I feel like I'm fitting in good, football is football. I got the system down, I'm grasping." Ralen also mentioned when he's not doing academics; he is studying film as much he can. 

**We asked Todd Orlando to assess the Defensive Line's work through two games, and he said, "Vic has done a real good job with this group. All the guys that are doing good things are tough guys." What we're seeing is "a whole bunch of hard work from practice."  "It's all practice habits."

T.O. twisted the knife in the media's back when he said, "If you had the ability to come watch these guys day in and day out, it's not really a surprise to be honest with you.  Nick[Figueroa] is a tough dude!" 

Yes, Coach!  We know!  Maybe you can have some influence over the situation and help us out?!!?

**Drake Jackson's nostrils are back on the screen to explain how his role with the defense has changed compared to last season. "My role in the defense hadn't changed much.  I'm playing free and letting me do what I do."  

**Ralen Goforth let everyone know that he's his harshest critic. "I wasn't very happy assessing myself after the first two games. I grade myself hard and I try to be my hardest critic."

**Coach Orlando's assessment of the linebacker play was wrapped up all nice and tight in a bow with the following comments; "The linebackers played better this game, but they have to improve the angles."  

He said the issues are all correctable and that those adjustments are the differences between stopping 1st downs and not.

**For the third week in a row, the Trojans will be playing a team that they have little or no film to work with as they prepare for their game in Utah.  Although maybe Coach Orlando has an, Ace up his Sleeve.  

Before taking the job with USC, Craig Naivar, took over for T.O. at Texas and coached the Longhorn defense to a victory over the Utes in last year's Alamo Bowl game.  So when T.O was asked if he would be leaning on Naivar's experience from the bowl game; "Craig Naivar will have a lot of say in the Trojans’ gameplan this week vs Utah." 

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USC Scoop’s Wednesday Notes & Observations: The Defense

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