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2020 Fall Camp Report #9: Hell Week

Oct 22, 2020

Preseason Notes

It's Hell Week for the Trojans — the most physical week of Fall Camp.

  • USC head coach Clay Helton explained that the players have worn full pads every day this week and that practices have been extremely competitive. "The kids have brought unbelievable energy to the park each and every day," Helton said. "And I think it really has started with the coordinators. I've got two guys that probably are the most competitive souls I've ever been associated with in Graham Harrell and TO (Todd Orlando)."
  • Helton said that thankfully, the physical week of practice hasn't caused any new injuries. He confirmed that freshman WR Gary Bryant Jr. is nursing a sprained ankle, but is expected to be ready for USC's season opener. Redshirt sophomore LB Tayler Katoa has a hamstring injury. Redshirt sophomore DL Trevor Trout, meanwhile, will miss the season with a back injury.
  • Katoa recently returned to USC after two years in the Latter-day Saint Missionary Program. "What a great kid, to be able to go and do a two-year mission ... and then to come back," Helton said. "He's been a welcome sight for us, to be honest with you. Especially from a depth standpoint, because he's going to provide some depth at that linebacker position as well as special teams."
  • Katoa's fellow linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV is on "another level" thanks to the tough coaching he's received from Orlando, according to Helton. The other ILB spot is a toss-up right now, because junior Kana'i Mauga has been out with a hamstring injury. Ralen Goforth would likely start in Mauga's place if injury keeps him out.
  • Junior safety Talanoa Hufanga is flourishing in Orlando's new defense, according to Helton. "It really was made for Talanoa," Helton said. "You're talking about a 210-215 pound man that runs 4.4, that can cover, can hit, can be a box player, can literally walk in between the tackles and be in a linebacker position if needed. He's one of those special, special skill sets that are required for this system."
  • Tomorrow, the Trojans will have a night practice at the Coliseum. On Saturday, they'll have an early morning scrimmage to prepare for the season opener vs. Arizona State at 9 am PT on Nov. 7.