USC Trojans Head Coach Clay Helton spoke to the press after Monday’s practice. The game on Friday night has bumped up the Trojans’ normal practice schedule by a day.
Preparing for Utah:
Utah has a reputation for having a rowdy home crowd that brings plenty of noise. Helton is preparing for that by piping in crowd noise during practice. Given that the USC offense had to move to a silent count at Stanford Stadium (sometimes referred to as the library) hopefully the offense does a much better job with distraction.
Helton also ran plenty of wet ball drills as he is expecting rain on Friday evening in Utah. Skill position players as well as punters, long-snappers, kickers and holders all worked with wet balls in practice on Monday.
Utah Players Helton is watching:
Helton had this to say about Free Safety Marcus Williams:
“I’ve been really impressed defensively with the free safety Marcus Williams is one of the better guys not only in our league but in the nation. He’s very long very rangey and shows up on tape everywhere.”
Hunter Dimick DE:
“[Dimick] has really become a quality player, I’ve got to see him grow up and he’s really become one of their best defensive lineman, and you know when you are playing a Kyle Whittingham defense its going to be well coached, its going to be aggressive.
Helton also announced that he will be starting Sam Darnold at quarterback instead of Max Browne.
“I had an opportunity to evaluate the first 3 games and made the decision for our football team that we would make a change at quarterback. I truly appreciate how honorably Max has played and he’s competed. He’s done it with extreme honor and extreme class, he is not the reason we are 1-2, he is not the scapegoat here. The way he competed and performed is more than honorable, but the realism of football is when you are 1-2 and you scored 1 touchdown against Alabama and Stanford I wanted to see a spark in our offense and I hope that Sam can bring that. I’m confident in it after watching 3 games of watching him perform, seeing him in the arena and seeing what he can do.”
Helton further elaborated that they will always compete and that he will always make decisions that are in the best interest of the team when asked if there is still a quarterback competition. Helton also reiterated that Max Browne did not play poorly but that the ball was just not getting into the end zone. Certainly there are more reasons than quarterback play to explain the struggling offense, but Helton hopes that bringing in Darnold will provide a spark for the offense.
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