2020 Fall Camp Report #1: Trojans Begin Prep for Season
Oct 9, 2020
After a roller coaster offseason, USC Football kicks off Fall Camp today.
- USC head coach Clay Helton opened up media availability with some personnel updates. He confirmed that OL Alijah Vera-Tucker will play in the upcoming season after initially opting out to prepare for the NFL Draft. DL Jay Tufele, on the other hand, will continue preparing for the NFL Draft.
- On the injury front, LB Jordan Iosefa, who missed last season with a knee injury, will miss the upcoming season after he undergoes knee surgery. LB Solomon Tuliaupupu will also miss the upcoming season. He is undergoing knee surgery today.
- DL Jacob Lichtenstein and OLs Frank Martin II and Bernard Schirmer opted out of the season but will be back next year. WR Munir McClain is currently suspended from team activities.
- It seems like there's been a quarterback competition every offseason in recent years at USC, but the picture is crystal clear this season. "We've got Kedon Slovis here, he is the starting quarterback," confirmed Helton.
- Slovis explained that the silver lining of starting the football season late is that he's been able to watch other games and learn from them. "Snap count is going to be a big deal without the crowd noise," Slovis noted. "It's going to be a lot louder. That's something that myself and really the center have to improve upon to hopefully be able to draw a few penalties."
- COVID-19 has changed the landscape of college football all the way down to USC's fall camp practices. To adhere to the government's cohort limits, the team and staff will split up into four different training locations for each practice.
- The Trojans are undergoing frequent COVID-19 testing thanks to the Pac-12's partnership with Quidel. Helton said it takes 90 minutes to two hours to test the whole team, and they receive results within 30 minutes. The Trojans are also undergoing testing provided by Color, as mandated by the university.
- Safety Talanoa Hufanga said he's thankful to have access to such advanced testing. "It's been a blessing, honestly," he said. "Being able to have this testing is just a way for us to get on the field ... We really just want to play. At the end of the day, we want to play ball and be around each other."
- Hufanga is entering his third season at USC, but his first with new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. He said he's excited to grow under Orlando's scheme. "He just preaches 'Run and Hit' as much as possible," Hufanga explained. "We love it. I wouldn't expect anything but energy today on our first day."
- Helton said that he expects Drake Jackson to shine in Orlando's scheme. Jackson played DL as a freshman but is transitioning to OLB this year. "He's a perfect fit in Coach Orlando's defense," Helton said. "I do see him as a guy that can be a four-down defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker rushing. To be able to see how explosive he is at this weight and how comfortable he is at this weight as an edge player has been neat to see."
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