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2020 Pac-12 Championship Tuesday: Trojans Prep for Oregon

Dec 15, 2020

The Trojan defense is ready to take on Oregon this week as USC prepares to host the Pac-12 Championship.

  • Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando was impressed with the team's performance against UCLA last week.  "These kids are some of the toughest guys, it's incredible," Orlando said. "When it's a big-time moment they step up, they never flinch, it's incredible what they're doing, and this is collectively, as a team."
     
  • S Talanoa Hufanga recorded a game-high 17 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, which earned him Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. "A big emphasis this year, for the whole team, is to run and hit and create turnovers," Hufanga said. "As much as we can help the offense out, I've got to make the most of all the opportunities I get, and at the end of the day just want to help our team win anyway possible."
     
  • Three of USC's five wins have been comeback victories, which the team attributes to its culture this year. "We all have trust in each other and we're just playing as a collective unit," DL Marlon Tuipulotu said. "We're just having fun with it, when we're down, we don't worry about it, we just keep playing."
     
  • After learning yesterday that the Trojans will face Oregon instead of Washington, Orlando is relying on CB coach Donte Williams for insight into Oregon's personnel. Williams was the CB coach at Oregon last year.
     
  • Orlando described Oregon as an "explosive" team. "They can pace you, they look over to the sidelines and can change plays, and they utilize their personnel extremely well," Orlando said.
     
  • Hufanga celebrated the chemistry between the players and coaching staff this year. "When you have coaches that are willing to put in the time during meetings on Zoom and really focusing on trying to build that relationship, that's trust," Hufanga said. "That's the kind of culture you want in a championship team and for us just to go out there and build off of that is an incredible opportunity for us."
     
  • The Trojans' path to championship week began during quarantine last Spring, making Friday's game all the more important. "Our whole team is excited to go out there and have a chance to win a championship, because that's what we've been preaching since quarantine, so to finally be here is a blessing," Tuipulotu said.