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2021 USC Football Fall Camp Report #7: Defensive Line Takes Step Forward

Aug 13, 2021

The defensive line took a step forward this week with the return of Drake Jackson and the continued improvement of Korey Foreman.

  • USC defensive line coach Vic So'oto had one main takeaway from yesterday's full-pads practice: "Our defense likes to hit a lot." He continued, "When we first got here, it was different ... but they've all bought in to the run and hit style that Coach [Todd] Orlando preaches."
  • Jackson participated in his second practice — first with shoulder pads — on Friday after returning from USC's health & safety protocols. He acknowledged that the No. 1 thing he needs to work on to get in game shape is his cardio. He also got his tonsils removed recently and lost some weight, so he's working on getting his weight back up.
  • In his third year, Jackson is embracing a leadership role. "Our coaches are putting that burden on me," he said. "I feel like I can do this, and I know that the team is looking over to me."
  • Jackson called Year 3 his "money year," declaring that he hopes to "go out with a bang" and play well enough to enter the 2022 NFL Draft as an underclassman.
  • Jackson went to high school with fellow defensive lineman Korey Foreman, and is definitely taking the star freshman under his wing. "I'm trying to let him do his own thing too, so he can have his own college experience — I'm not trying to take away from that — but I'm trying to help as much as he needs," Jackson said. "Anything he needs, I'm here for him."
  • So'oto said he's seen Foreman take huge steps forward every day, in both meetings and on the field. "It's really complicated for a kid like that who hasn't played in a long time to come into a room like ours and a defense like Coach Orlando's and figure it out, when usually he just rushed up the field and didn't have an assignment," So'oto said.
  • So'oto was relieved to see Foreman's performance in full pads yesterday. "I wanted to see if he was going to hit, and hit hard," So'oto explained. "He was smacking dudes. We were in inside run, and he just took off and hit the guy in the backfield. He got up and was smiling. That's when I knew, 'Yeah, that's my guy.'"
  • USC defensive linemen Jamar Sekona and Kobe Pepe missed practice while going through USC's health & safety protocols.