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2020 Fall Camp Report #4: Trojans Don Full Pads

Oct 14, 2020

Preseason Notes

The Trojans don full pads today for the first time since Fall Camp started on Friday.

  • First-year defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is excited to see what his defense looks like running at full speed. "We'll find out who can tackle people, who can get off blocks, who can separate," he said. "Because some people, they might run 4.6, but when someone's trying to hit them, they run 4.9. And then some guys, they might run 4.9, but when they're going to hit someone, they run 4.6. That's the beauty of this game. It's contact."
  • Despite only having one practice in the spring and starting Fall Camp later than normal, Orlando said his defensive scheme is 95 percent installed. "The meat and potatoes of this package is done," he said. "You like to get that done before the first day of live football, because you don't want to have to install stuff if you're asking somebody to run as fast as they can."
  • Defensive lineman Brandon Pili acknowledged that it was tough learning the system via Zoom calls, but said he's got a handle on it now that the Trojans are practicing in person. "I feel like I'm more of a hands-on learner, so I'm starting to see the defense more and starting to run through it I'm definitely getting the plays down better and it's helping me a lot more than just seeing it through Zoom," he said.
  • Pili was extremely close with Jay Tufele, the defensive lineman who opted out of USC's season to prepare for the NFL Draft. "I'm happy for him, don't get me wrong, but seeing him leave left a big void in our defensive line," Pili said. "Now that that burden is on me, being that veteran, the senior of the group, I just feel like I have more accountability to my teammates now to fill that void."
  • Drake Jackson, who played mostly on the defensive line as a freshman, will transition to a hybrid DL/LB position this season. "He's going to be more towards the line of scrimmage," Orlando said. "It's a 3-4 outside backer that has the ability to play at the line of scrimmage … He's an elite pass rusher."
  • Palaie Gaoteote IV is expected to keep his starting ILB position, while Ralen Goforth and Kana'i Mauga will compete for the other. "Those three guys have stood out," Orlando said. "I will say this about all three of them: They're extremely sharp kids. We have really strained them mentally and all those guys have picked up this package really, really well."