Clay Helton started off the Oregon week Q and A by praising the performance of the USC defense on Thursday night. The Bears have a high powered offense and can score plenty of points but the Trojans kept them to their lowest point total of the season even with gifting Cal 10 points from turnovers. The focus for the defense was to get Cal QB Davis Webb off his spot. USC did not get much in the way of sacks but Helton said when he went back and watched the tape he saw Webb on the ground quite a bit which tells him that his defense got plenty of pressure even if it did not directly show up on the stat sheet.
The offensive line controlled the point of attack according to Helton and they have been doing it for four weeks in a row now. This has allowed the USC running game to get rolling and open up the pass. Jones and Ware were once again tasked with stepping up while Justin Davis is injured and they responded brilliantly.
Sam Darnold may be young, but he is making great decisions and distributing the ball well. With 4 different receivers getting touchdowns Helton said that is a sign of a QB that is taking what the defense is giving him. He is also starting to slide with his legs and protecting his body.
Helton expressed his excitement that the team is going to get to play meaningful games in the next month. He said he’s excited about nationally televised games (like Washington) and two rivalry games as well. In order to take down opponents in meaningful games, be they playoff contenders or bitter rivals, Helton stressed they have to stop turning the ball over to win. The Trojans will need to keep this hot string going if they want to have any shot of winning the Pac-12 South. Unfortunately USC had 110+ yards in penalties and 3 turnovers against Cal. It will be very difficult for the Trojans to go into Seattle and knock of the Huskies with a stat sheet like that. Helton said USC will spend the week correcting these things but did not elaborate on what he intended to differently this week to correct the turnovers that he has not already tried in previous weeks.
In scouting Oregon, Helton said the Ducks have two elite, NFL caliber running backs and a QB that can put points on the board. The Ducks have scored over 100 points in the last two games. On defense Oregon has struggled mightily. Following the overtime loss to Cal, Oregon made some schematic changes on defense and came out much stronger last week against Arizona State.
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