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2021 USC Football Mock Game Week Wednesday: Defensive Leadership Steps Up

Aug 25, 2021

The Trojans continue to ramp up preparations for their return to the Coliseum next week.

  • Veteran players Isaiah Pola-Mao, Chase Williams and Kana'i Mauga's experience has helped the defense, especially for the younger players. "They're not only making plays, but they're trying to help other guys, they're helping us, as a coaching staff," defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said. "You can't put a price on those things."
  • Williams has impressed Orlando, showcasing not only his talent on the field, but as a leader as well. "He knows this package as well as we do… he's a sponge, he does an incredible job with the younger guys," Orlando said. "He's just outstanding, nothing but high praise for him."
  • Mauga has embraced his role as a leader on the team and is confident in the ability of his teammates to make an impact. "They're coming along great. They're really adapting to the Trojan culture and how we do things around here," he said. "Basically, defense is 'run and hit.' They've been displaying it all through spring and the fall. I'm really excited for them to be out there."
  • Freshmen Korey Foreman and Raesjon Davis aim to make an impact in their first season as Trojans, as Orlando looks to define their roles as the season moves forward. "Their development's gonna be really important," Orlando said. "Once they get a couple games under their belt they really start to take off, so we have to play them early."
  • Foreman has been focused on learning the playbook and his assignments in preparation for his debut at the Coliseum, while also learning from his fellow defensive linemen. "They know a little bit more than I do, and maybe I know a little bit more than they do in some ways, so we all help each other out. We're trying to make everybody on our D-Line the best pass rushers in the country."
  • Defensive line coach Vic So'oto had nothing but praise for Nick Figueroa, and after leading the team in sacks last season, looks to see him have another impressive year. "I know what I'm gonna get out of 50 every time he goes out there, and that's whatever he's got," So'oto said. "He's gonna be where he's supposed to be and he's gonna go as hard as he can.
  • So'oto is stressing the importance of consistency with the defensive line, prioritizing that among all players as the Trojans gear up for the season opener.