2020 WSU Thursday: USC In The Clear
Dec 3, 2020
All members of the USC football team have tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times, so the Trojans are currently a go for Sunday's game vs. Washington State.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently shortened the recommended COVID-19 quarantine period from 14 days to seven-to-10 days, but Helton says that doesn't immediately allow all of USC's players to return. "At some point in time that will come to us," said Helton. "That is issued by the federal government, then it has to go through state, then it has to go through local."
- Helton also explained that he's been in touch with USC athletic director Mike Bohn to discuss contingency plans in case Los Angeles county bans sports from taking place. "Universities and teams are adapting and doing what they must to be able to play the game we love," he said. "We're just taking it a day at a time. A test at a time. A practice at a time."
- If COVID-19 does preclude some of USC's starters from playing on Sunday, Helton is confident in his youngsters. "We really poured as much time into them as we did our [first string players], because our [first string players] were vets," Helton explained. "So, am I confident? Yeah. I'm confident in those guys."
- The Trojans may be without ILBs Palaie Gaoteote IV and Ralen Goforth on Sunday due to other injuries. Gaoteote IV is still in concussion protocol and Helton doesn't expect him back by the weekend. Goforth is still nursing a foot sprain, but is "close" to returning.
- The Trojans will need to be strong on defense against WSU QB Jayden de Laura (274.0 YPG) and RB Deon McIntosh (119.5 YPG). WSU RB Max Borghi is also likely to return from injury this week. Borghi ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in all-purpose yards last year, with 817 yards on the ground and 597 receiving yards. "They've got a one-two punch," Helton said.
- Helton said that the week off gave the Trojan coaching staff extra time to review its own strengths and weaknesses. "We look at, 'What are our tendencies in play calling, in certain situations? What are we on third-and-1-to-3? What are we on third-and-4-to-6?'" he explained. "There are some great, subtle changes [Todd Orlando] made last week. Making some more this week. I think there's a couple things that Graham [Harrell] is doing that's a similar philosophy but a different look ... Those self-scout breakdowns do help a lot."