2021 USC Football vs. Arizona State Practice Report: Crosstown Showdown Prep
Nov 17, 2021
The Trojans are busy preparing for their return to the Coliseum to face crosstown rival UCLA on Saturday.
- Following an unexpected bye week due to the postponement of the Nov. 13 game at California, the team is headed into Saturday's matchup feeling rested and prepared. "It was really a blessing for us to get some of our health back, get some more tape on UCLA and some preparation," Nick Figueroa said.
- Figueroa, who has battled injuries this season, expects to be available to play on Saturday.
- Younger players have continued to take on larger roles as the season has gone on, something that defensive coordinator Todd Orlando attributes to their increasing comfort on the field. "There's a lot of those guys that have shown out on the practice field," he said. "It's comfort, just understanding the package and just knowing what to do and how to do it."
- Redshirt freshman Xavion Alford has been one of those players on the defense, recording two interceptions against Arizona State. "He played really loose and free, Orlando said. "He's gonna get a ton more reps."
- Freshman Maximus Gibbs joined the defense earlier in the season, and Orlando has been pleased by the impact that he's made on the field. "We were probably about 75% sure that this would work, but now he's made us a true believer into it, so that's the really cool part about it," Orlando said.
- As they prepare to take on a strong Bruin offense, the defense has its attention set on UCLA's run game. "That's our main thing, just stopping the run," Ralen Goforth said. "If everybody does their job, then we should be good."
- After playing in an empty Rose Bowl Stadium last season, fans return as part of the rivalry tradition this week, and the team hopes to bring the same competitive energy to this year's game. "It's pretty cool that we get teams like this, just the history of it, to be a part of it, they're gonna be excited," Orlando said.