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2016 Pac-12 Media Day: All eyes on Alabama for USC

A common talking point at Media Day for the Trojans: Alabama.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

HOLLYWOOD-  50 days. 1,216 hours. 73,000 minutes (give or take a couple) until 5:00 P.T. on September 3rd, 2016 when USC opens their season against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.

If there was one thing that head coach Clay Helton, offensive lineman Zach Banner, and defensive back Adoree' Jackson all talked about during Day One of the 2016 Pac-12 Media Day on Thursday, it was the Tide.

"Alabama, coming off of a national championship is a great team," Jackson said. "I am excited because they are going to bring their best and we are going to bring our best."

The game will also have a small hometown type feel for Jackson.

"Everyone in my family is from Illinois and they don't come down and watch me play so I am excited to have them join and watch me play live," he said.

Banner is familiar with some of the players because he played against them in high school and knows how big the stage will be in Dallas.

"The game against Alabama is a great week one start," Banner said. " It probably will be the game of the week in terms of everyone watching but for us it's our first and most important game. I truly feel like its going to be a great battle. I respect their team very much and they have good recruits coming out of high school just like us."

Obviously, one big difference between the last game of last season and the opener against Alabama is the quarterback. Cody Kessler is a Cleveland Brown and the job now falls to either Max Browne or Sam Darnold. To Banner, it doesn't matter who's behind center, his job stays the same: Block.

"Whoever lines up behind me I am going to block, bottom line," he said.  "That's just how the rest of us feel. I feel like we have a really great unit. We have seven guys who have starts underneath their belt and I feel our ones, twos, and threes could seriously start at any other school and I really mean that. We have a lot of depth on the offensive line. I am happy to lead this group."

With his big smile on as the only rookie in the room, Clay Helton said that there was a different feeling this summer knowing that USC will be opening the season against Alabama. He emphasized how excited he is that they get to play the defending national champions.

Helton is also looking forward to the "chess match" between Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

The clock is ticking to the opener. Football is so close.


  • Jackson will play primary on defense this year, Helton said.
  • If there was a game immediately following spring practice, Max Browne would have started, Helton said.
  • Helton called Banner the "rock of their offensive line" and "a leader on offense and defense."
  • Helton said him and his staff will release their "two-deep" depth chart two weeks before the start of the season.