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USC Football vs. San José State Practice Report: Defense Set for Saturday

Sep 1, 2021

The Trojan defense is prepared to make an impact as USC prepares to take on San Jose State.

  • As game week preparations continue, defensive coordinator Todd Orlando looks to see the defense use the strong foundation they've built in the offseason. "Every game plan's gonna be a little bit different, but the way that we run to the football, the way that we tackle, we do the things that are fundamental, that's the things we gotta excel at," he said.
  • With a solid mix of new and returning players, Orlando is eager to see guys step up throughout the season. "If you've earned the right to play because of the way you practice, you're gonna be out on the field."
  • Leadership from older players has proven crucial to the development of the defense throughout practice. "When you have older guys, they make your life a lot easier because the expectation is not about what a coach says, it's what a championship demands," Orlando said.
  • Captain Isaiah Pola-Mao has proven himself as a leader and is confident that the defense is ready to dominate. "We could be the number one defense in the nation," Pola-Mao said. "If we're firing on all cylinders, it's gonna be hard to get past us, we make plays and that's what this defense is set up for."
  • Defensive line coach Vic So'oto has been pleased with the effort he's seen on the field, especially in preparation for Saturday. "Regardless of who's out there, they're gonna go long, go hard and execute on a high level," So'oto said.
  • The return of fans promises to bring a special atmosphere to the Coliseum Saturday. "I'm just excited to get in there and feel the energy again, feel the fans, just to see everybody's face, my family's face," Pola-Mao said. "It's gonna be so fun out there and I'm ready to run around."