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2020 Fall Camp Report #14: Players, Coaches Preview Season Opener

Nov 2, 2020

Game Notes vs. ASU (PDF)

Game week is finally here, as USC opens its season with Arizona State at the Coliseum on Saturday at 9 am PT.

  • Saturday's matchup will feature our sophomore QB Kedon Slovis against ASU's sophomore QB Jayden Daniels. "You're going to see two of the better quarterbacks in the country right off the bat on the national stage," said USC head coach Clay Helton. "I was extremely impressed with Jayden last year. His production as a true freshman was evident."
  • Slovis is excited to go up against Daniels, but said it's not all about the QB matchup. "He's a great player," Slovis said. "Regardless of the team we're playing, regardless of who we play, regardless of what scheme they run, it's about us. We have to go out and execute, and if we do that, we're going to have success."
  • Regardless of Saturday's matchup, Helton is looking forward to his QB's second season. "He went from a young man to a grown man," said Helton of Slovis. "It's evident that his body is different than it was a year ago."
  • USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell is also excited about his stable of running backs: Vavae Malepeai, Stephen Carr, Markese Stepp and Kenan Christon. "The cool thing about the backs that we have is if they're all healthy, you've got four different players and everyone has a different skill set," Harrell said. "And because of that it makes it really hard to prepare for those guys and it makes our offense more versatile."
  • Stepp has worked his way back from an ankle injury and is currently dealing with turf toe, but is expected to be ready for Saturday.
  • The Trojans will go up against a defense they haven't seen before, led by ASU co-defensive coordinators Antonio Pierce and former NFL head coach Marvin Lewis. "It's been a long time since Marvin called a defense," said Harrell. "It's not like you can go find tape from the last year or two and see him calling it and know exactly what you're going to get ... But I do think that's one advantage to what we do is we don't necessarily try to out-scheme people. We're just going to go execute what we do at a high level."
  • Helton said USC's offense has its work cut out for them against ASU LBs Merlin Robertson and Darien Butler, whom he called "maybe the best combination of linebackers in our league."
  • Saturday's 9 am kickoff will be an odd experience for players and fans alike, but USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown said he's not apprehensive about the early start. "Once I'm up, I can play any time," he said.
  • On Friday, Helton will release a depth chart and name USC's team captains for the season.