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USC Football vs. Notre Dame Practice Report: Trojans Refreshed Coming Off Bye Week

Oct 19, 2021

The Trojans are feeling rested and ready to play Notre Dame after the bye week.

  • USC interim head coach Donte Williams explained that the bye week allowed some players to get healthy while many younger players got to show their stuff during a developmental scrimmage.
  • Williams highlighted DT Ishmael Sopsher as one player who impressed during the bye week. "He's huge," Williams said. "It's hard to find big guys that are athletic, and he's both.
  • Williams described the bye week as "a major reset" and said it allowed the team to get to know him better. "They have an idea now who I am, and I have an idea who they are, as a head coach," he said. "It was a chance to unwind a bit and see what we did wrong or right."
  • From an injury standpoint, QB Jaxson Dart (knee) is day-to-day and still not medically cleared to play, while TE Michael Trigg (leg) is week-to-week and not expected to be available for Notre Dame.
  • Dart has attacked his rehab since sustaining a knee injury in his debut Washington State. "I feel a lot better each day," said Dart. "Just trying to stay on top of my therapy and get as much reps as I can just to be ready whenever."
  • USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell said that once Dart is fully recovered, he would try to figure out how to use both Dart and Kedon Slovis in the game plan. He divulged that he planned to use both QBs at Washington State, but Dart had to take over full-time when Slovis went down.
  • Williams explained that the team is preparing for all three Notre Dame quarterbacks, which the Irish have cycled between. Yesterday Irish head coach Brian Kelly said Jack Coan will start, but Tyler Buchner will also see playing time. Drew Pyne has also gotten reps for the Irish this season. "You have to be prepared, because all those guys are different challenges," said Williams.
  • While USC's passing game has been solid, the team worked to rejuvenate the run game during the bye week. "We need to have fun with it, be more patient, execute our assignments and stick with the blocks and believing that they'll make those blocks," said RB Vavae Malepeai.
  • Malepeai highlighted the great tradition of the USC vs. Notre Dame rivalry. "There's a lot of history behind this game," he said. "Having the Shillelagh and the Victory Bell is a big thing. We're putting it on our shoulders to make sure we get that job done."