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2021 USC Football Fall Camp Report #10: Defensive Backs Step Up

Aug 18, 2021

The Trojans kicked off Day 12 of fall camp with a visit from the Trojan Marching Band.

  • Defensive coordinator Todd Orlando has been pleased with what he's seeing as the Trojans progress through their final week of camp.  "They're physical, on both sides, just the spirit of them is really good," Orlando said. "When you get into practice 12, 13, 14 you start to see a little bit of a dip, and we've really seen a pretty steady climb, which is a really good sign."
  • Safeties Isaiah Pola-Mao and Chase Williams are stepping into larger roles on the team this season, with Orlando noting that they "have been really instrumental in terms of the leadership part of it, when we're a little bit flat through the stretch or something they're rallying guys, they're really like coaches out there in terms of getting guys pumped up."
  • Freshman S Calen Bullock is already making an impact and is set to have a role on the field this fall, according to Orlando. "He's got great ball skills, and from the second he got here, some guys just have elite vision, and that stuff is really, really hard to coach."
  • With CB Chris Steele coming off an All-Pac-12 second team season, the battle for the second cornerback spot is heating up. "It's open competition right now, let those guys battle it out, and whoever's the best in the moment will play versus San Jose," Orlando said.
  • Associate head coach / cornerbacks coach Donte Williams is encouraged by the depth at the position and is pleased to see the impact that off-season adjustments have made.
  • Redshirt junior Isaac Taylor-Stuart has fully embraced his role on the team, with Williams emphasizing the impact that Taylor-Stuart's positive mindset has had on his game. "The physical skills is one thing, but the mental's a whole different part of the game. His mental side has definitely caught up with his physical attributes."
  • Steele and WR Drake London's matchups have been a highlight of fall camp. "It's the Biletnikoff against the Thorpe, every play is a battle of the titans, and I look forward to it," Williams said. "If they're giving each other's best every day on this practice field, then the game should be easy."
  • Safety Greg Johnson has grown into a leader on the team, something that's especially evident through the respect he's earned from his teammates. "When you see somebody come back from injury, and as hard as he worked to come back, and then you saw the things once he was back, what he was doing in the weight room, and the conditioning, and what he's already doing on this field, he already had guys respect, but now they truly see it," said Williams.