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USC Football 2016: Trojans work on 3rd down ahead of their break

USC v Arizona Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The USC Trojans will take a break from practice on Thursday and Friday to get rested and healthy while the coaches make recruiting trips. In Wednesday’s practice Helton focused on their third down packages for the Cal game next Thursday as well as continuing to get the younger players quality reps in practice.

Coach Helton spoke about the importance of getting the Cal quarterback Davis Webb off his spot which means getting more pressure on the quarterback a task that the USC defense is getting better at. Coach Helton says they have been dialing up blitzing more frequently but that the defensive line has become much better with the 4 man rush. Bears QB Davis Webb however is difficult to sack, however, largely because he has such a quick release and has some freedoms when it comes to changing plays at the line of scrimmage.

The Bears offense also runs a ton of plays and has the ability to get 100 offensive snaps in a single game. Currently the Bears are averaging a little over 82 offensive snaps per game. That amount of plays can strain a defense so substitutions will be critical for Clancy Pendergast’s unit. That is also 80 plays on the field for Adoree’ Jackson not counting his kick returns.

Since most teams have stopped kicking to Jackson entirely he is not getting used as much. One of the primary and perhaps only reason Helton does not want to use Adoree’ Jackson on offense so much is because Helton does not want to overload Jackson by using him on defense, special teams and offense, which could sharply increase the risk of injury. With Jackson’s role on special teams reduced because no one is kicking to him the risk of overloading diminishes. As a result Helton has given more thought to using Jackson on offense but likely not against Cal. With the Bears running 82+ plays a game the majority of which will likely be passes Adoree’ may be getting plenty of work next Thursday.

On offense, Justin Davis is still working on getting better after suffering a high ankle sprain against Colorado. The running backs still performed well against Arizona without Davis and they should have another great game against Cal as well. The Bears’ defense struggles greatly against the run which means the Trojans should be able to move the ball well on the ground even if Davis is not ready to go by next Thursday. When a team like the Bears can run 82+ plays a game keeping your defense off the field and rested is a huge help. With the USC running backs surging and the Bears’ run defense struggling, the Trojans would love to move the ball well on the ground chewing up clock while still scoring plenty of points.

You can watch the full presser here:

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