After Wednesday’s practice Clay Helton addressed the media and said that he hopes the Trojans have a similar game against Oregon as USC did against Cal. The Bears and Ducks are similar teams in that they both have uptempo offenses, run a bunch of plays, and can score a lot of points. Because of this, Helton said that many of the things that he stressed to the team last week will be important again this week.
Once again efficiency on offense and keeping the chains moving, particularly on third down, will be important for Sam Darnold and the USC offense. Oregon can score plenty of points, so keeping the ball in Sam Darnold’s hands gives the USC offense the opportunity to keep pace with the Ducks on the scoreboard as well as keeping the Oregon offense off of the field which means the USC defense is also off the field and resting. Despite three turnovers and 125 penalty yards the Trojans offense picked up 31 first downs, went 6 for 10 on third down conversions, 629 yards and most importantly 45 points while also narrowly edging the Bears in time of possession.
On defense USC will once again look to get plenty of pressure on the quarterback. USC did not have much in the way of sacks to show for their efforts against Cal but they were able to get pressure on the Bears’ QB all night long which helped the Trojans keep Cal to their lowest point total of the season. USC will once again look to bring pressure on Oregon’s talented but inexperienced quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Trojans are also emphasizing getting the defense off the field on third downs once again. The USC defense had tremendous success against Cal on third downs with the Bears only converting 3 of 12 on 3rd downs. If USC can continue this kind of 3rd down success against the Oregon offense it will go a long way toward the Trojans continuing their win streak.
CB Jonathan Lockett is still out and Helton said it is “looking a little more doubtful there” so the Trojans are probably going to have to make adjustments in their nickel package. Look for Ajene Harris and Leon McQuay to fill the void in nickel packages.
Justin Davis was running in practice again on Wednesday but he was about the same as he was on Tuesday and still not making cuts. RB Aca’Cedric Ware was also held out of practice again.
Linebacker Mike Hutchings was held out of Wednesday’s practice with a tight calf but Helton expects him back in a day or so.
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