2020 ASU Thursday: Trojans Ready for Opener
Nov 5, 2020
The Trojans are putting the final touches on their prep for Saturday's season opener vs. ASU.
- Helton had positive injury updates on many players. Running backs Vavae Malepeai and Markese Stepp will both be available on Saturday, as will linebackers Drake Jackson and Kana'i Mauga.
- The weather forecast shows a chance of rain on Saturday morning, so the Trojans have been practicing with wet balls to prepare.
- The team has also practiced its pregame routine ahead of the early kickoff on Saturday. "Last week, we did stay in the hotel to be able to give them that format," Helton said. "They got used to a little bit earlier curfew — 9:30 me tucking them in and turning the lights out. And then getting up that next morning, which was a 5:45 wakeup call for them."
- Helton said that he plans to rotate at many positions, including cornerback. Olaijah Griffin and Chris Steele are the likely starters, with Isaac Taylor-Stuart rotating in. Taylor-Stuart suffered a knee injury in the Holiday Bowl, but has worked his way back and gained confidence during training camp.
- Helton said USC's new defensive coaches have brought the players a long way over the offseason. He specifically complimented the coaches' energy. "If you could bottle it and sell it, I'd be a very rich person," Helton joked. "They do a tremendous job ... They bring great energy, great juice, great knowledge to the game."
- Helton singled out LB Palaie Gaoteote IV as a player he's excited to watch. "He's just had an amazing six weeks," Helton said. "I can't wait to see his progression under [Todd Orlando]."
- USC kicks off the season against Arizona State on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9 am PT. The game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
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