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September 16, 2020
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Football prepares for opener against Fresno State

first_imgIn the spirit of consistency, the Trojans won’t be changing what they do on the field week-to-week, no matter how good the upcoming opponent. The plays the offense will run are from the spring playbook. Helton said the simplicity of the new system will allow younger players to step up. From Daniels’ end, the Air Raid system requires less thought; he can just go out and execute.  “People have been jawing about ‘SC Sucks, ‘SC’s this, ‘SC’s going to win five games again,’” Pittman said. “So I’m ready to play and ready to prove them wrong.” The Trojans aren’t looking back; it’s all about the here and now. But Pittman said things haven’t changed too much from last year. The team is more physically built than it was last year, but the biggest difference is that the players are working harder.  This is the deepest wide receiver group Pittman has played with, and the veteran said it will make his job easier. The defense can’t target and double team him because if they do, they’ll be creating an opening for other receivers like redshirt juniors Velus Jones Jr. and Tyler Vaughns and sophomores Devon Williams and  Amon-Ra St. Brown.  The coaching staff created the quarterback depth chart based on who was most consistent, and head coach Clay Helton has confidence in all three scholarship quarterbacks. Sophomore starter JT Daniels used the same phrase as Pittman that “football is still football,” referring to changes from last year. One difference is Daniels’ role as a leader on the team.  WIDE RECEIVERS Freshman wide receiver Bru McCoy’s waiver has not been cleared yet. He will likely not play this Saturday, as the NCAA is not expected to make a decision before the game. In preparing for both the opener and the season as a whole, the Trojans will be focusing more on themselves than on their opponents.  “They’re not going to be the ones that get written about in the paper, they’re probably not going to be talked about on the news, but the reason we’re successful or not successful is going to fall on them,” he said.   Along with having more experience, Daniels is also more vocal. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Graham Harrell taught him the importance of energy, saying that “the most excited team wins.” He’s still not a “rah-rah guy” but now leans more toward that end of the spectrum than being a “quiet guy.”  Harrell expects his group to improve every single day, and week by week he expects them to play better as the team continues to gel. That camaraderie is key to Harrell’s offense. Feeling comfortable with the players next to you is just as important as individual talent.center_img “It’s all about us, we don’t really care what they do,” Pittman said. “Obviously we look at them and scout them, that’s what every good team does.”  Harrell has placed a lot of responsibility on the offensive line, which will set the tone for both the physicality and the tempo of the offense. His expectation for the offense is to dominate the line of scrimmage.  OFFENSIVE ATTACK “Everything feels the same to me,” Pittman said. “Football is football, nothing really changes. I think we just have more confidence and our quarterback has more confidence. We’re all just ready to play football.” After waiting seven months to get back out on the field, this week of practice marks the final stretch before the Trojans’ home opener against Fresno State this Saturday. Having practiced against each other for so long, there’s a new energy with the Trojans, symbolized by President Carol Folt’s presence at practice.  Senior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. expressed the importance of the Trojans starting the season strong. A win this weekend would help garner momentum and set the tone for the rest of the fall. INJURY REPORT Redshirt freshman inside linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu will lose another season to recovering from a surgery on his foot he had prior to coming to USC. Once healed, he’ll have four years left of eligibility, making him an older player which can certainly be an advantage, and he’ll have the opportunity to be healthy, which is the most important thing, Helton said.  Senior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. heads downfield after hauling in a pass against Colorado in 2018. (Daily Trojan file photo)last_img read more