Preparing for Utah:
Helton said that Utah will be one of the best pass rushes that the Trojans will see all year. Helton spent much of Tuesday’s practice preparing for the 5 and 6 man rushes that Utah loves to bring.
Helton also emphasized the importance of turnovers in this game. Turnovers were a huge part of the reason why USC was able to find success last year against Utah, and the Utes have had turnover problems early in this season as well most notably against Utah. Protecting the ball and securing turnovers will be a crucial part of this game. Given that there is a good chance of rain on Friday in Utah, and the importance of ball control Helton once again worked the team on wet ball drills.
On E.J. Price rumors:
Yesterday the USC rumor mill was swirling about E.J. Price allegedly punching Clay Helton. Helton made it abundantly clear that those rumors were false. E.J. Price, however, is dealing with private family issues and is transferring to a school closer to home.
Tight End Taylor McNamara was stepped on in practice and is dealing with a foot injury. The team will take an x-ray just to be safe but it sounds like it is just a bruise. Malik Dorton is also dealing with a hip injury.
On the extra point against Stanford:
On one extra point attempt by Stanford, USC only lined up 8 players to try and stop the PAT attempt. Helton said he did not want to waste the time out and rather would have risked the possibility that Stanford noticed it and try to take advantage of it. Stanford still attempted the kick and Helton saved the time out. Helton was ridiculed for his timeout management in games earlier in the season so perhaps this was the right call, but the fact that only 8 guys went on the field is another glaring piece of evidence that this team is unprepared.
Penalties against Stanford:
Helton said the offensive penalties were the difference in the game against Stanford. He reiterated that because Stanford dominates the time of possession it reduces the number of possessions each team gets and the penalties killed drives by putting USC in 3rd and long situations. Understanding the limited number of possessions against Stanford once again highlights the poor decision Helton made late in the game to punt to Stanford instead of going for it on fourth down.
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