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USC Football vs. Washington State Practice Report: Defense Adjusts To Errors & Staff Changes

Sep 15, 2021

The Trojans wore full pads for the second day in a row as they look to put Monday's news behind them and focus on their upcoming game against Washington State.

  • USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando acknowledged that the news of Clay Helton being fired was tough, but said the team is learning to compartmentalize. "When you're in the building, it's professional, 1-and-0, work and be in the moment," he said. "When you're outside of it, it'll mess with you a little bit. But Washington State's not going to care about that. We've got to move forward and continue to get better."
  • USC defensive line coach Vic So'oto echoed Orlando's sentiment, saying he was "heartbroken" by the news. But he said the team has gotten closer, and it's showing on the practice field. "I don't know if it's because of the news and everybody getting tighter, but we've been running around having fun," he said.
  • So'oto expressed frustration at the loss to Stanford, but noted that his position group stepped up after allowing an 87-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, only allowing 1.8 yards per rush for the rest of the game.
  • So'oto said that DL Korey Foreman is healthy and DL Nick Figueroa will be a game-time decision on Saturday.
  • Orlando noted that the errors committed by the defense last Saturday are all correctable. "That was a strange game," he said. "They took advantage of a lot of mistakes that we did ... Just got to tighten up some screws and move on."
  • With the changes to the coaching staff, defensive quality control analyst Michael Hutchings was promoted to linebackers coach. "I go from an off-field role where I was more encouragement, organization, day-to-day operations in the building, to now being on field, being able to participate in more game day activities, coach drills and be more active in practice," he explained.
  • Hutchings said he's confident in interim head coach Donte Williams' ability to lead this team. "His ability to relate to the kids is huge, but also his ability to lead others," he said.
  • So'oto also expressed confidence in Williams. "Just seeing him every day, how he goes about his business, gives me all the confidence in the world in what he can do," he said. "Just want to win for him."