Skip to main content

USC Football vs. Notre Dame Practice Report: Defense Prepares for Road Test

Oct 20, 2021

The Trojans are gearing up to take on Notre Dame in South Bend on Saturday.

  • The bye week allowed the defense to enter this week refreshed and ready to go. "We had last week to work on fundamentals and techniques, we'd been going 11 weeks strong, really, really hard," defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said.
  • The team had a developmental scrimmage to give younger guys on the team an opportunity to compete. "It was really productive, they were out there on their own, just playing," Orlando said. "They played really fast, and they're guys that are gonna help us, and we expected that."
  • Ishmael Sopsher continues to impress in practice, and Orlando expects to see him get playing time against Notre Dame. "He did a really good job," Orlando said. "We wanna play him and we'll see how he finishes up the rest of the week."
  • Orlando is also pleased to see Raesjon Davis continually improving and looks to see him make an impact as well. "He's showing us that he's accountable, we're just trying to find the right spot for him, just to utilize him," he said.
  • The Trojans are preparing to take on a ranked Notre Dame team with three different potential quarterbacks, and Orlando has the defense prepping for any possible scenario. "We've prepared for all three of them and are expecting to see different things out of them," he said.
  • Linebackers coach Michael Hutchings played for the Trojans the last time USC beat Notre Dame in 2016, and is bringing his experience to the coaching staff as the team preps. "One thing I really want to relay to the guys is really what it means to go to South Bend, and what it means just to play against Notre Dame," Hutchings said. "Just understand the magnitude the rivalry, what it means to go play for that Shillelagh, and how excited you should be for what it represents."
  • Hutchings explained the importance of mindset in big games as the Trojans hit the road. "You go play in front of a sold-out crowd, a historic rivalry, and it should bring the best out of you if you're a competitor and a historian of the sport and this school."