1. Now that Sark is out of the way, will the team continue to play like it did against Utah? Or is another UW-style faceplant still possible?
If you look at the two games that Helton has coached in 2015, both have been pretty good for the most part despite the 1-1 record. USC had a bad first quarter against Notre Dame and had a terrible defense in the second half, but the team looked inspired. Then, it was the Utah game and we know what happened there. I don't see USC going back and playing like they did against Washington—that was pure awful. This team is inspired with Helton and all the players want to win for him.
2. A few weeks ago Sonny Dykes was rumored as a possible candidate for the USC job. What are your thoughts on that? Who else should merit consideration for the job?
His record against California schools would create huge red flags for USC fans. I don't think USC will interview Dykes. Two guys whom I really like for the head coaching job are Pat Fitzgerald and Tom Herman. Fitzgerald is the current head coach at Northwestern and he played against USC in the 1996 Rose Bowl. He is a great coach with a bunch of two- and three-star players and I think he would bring a lot to the table. Herman is in his first year at Houston after spending three years as the OC/QB coach at Ohio State. He was the Broyles Award winner last year and is a great offensive-minded coach. USC needs to move on from the Pete Carroll era. It should be interesting to see what happens in Los Angeles.
3. On a scale from 1-10, how much did last week's Cal-UCLA halftime show rustle your jimmies? Or did no one at USC even know (or care) about it?
I was at the Cal/UCLA game and it was interesting. Hey, maybe they should do it every week since the Trojans are undefeated since that halftime show. No one really cares about it.
4. Why will USC make it a dozen wins in a row against Cal? On the contrary, why will the streak finally end this year?
I said that this game was going to be a trap game from the beginning of the season. It's on Halloween and I originally thought it would be a great atmosphere because I thought the game will [sic] be at night. (Well, now it's not.) USC will make it a dozen wins in a row because they will look at the film from the Cal/UCLA game and see that if UCLA's receivers can dominate the Cal secondary, the Trojans receiving core should have no problem. The streak will end if the Cal offensive line will be able to slow down the Trojans' defensive pressure and Jared Goff has a game similar to what he had against the Washington schools.
5. USC has major offensive line injuries, but that didn't seem to bother the offense against Utah. How big of a deal are the injuries and how much of an impact will they have against Cal?
Max Tuerk was supposed to be a first-round pick in 2016 and he is out for the season. Now, To'a Lobendahn is also out for the season. So that means that USC is on their third-string center—Khaliel Rodgers—who played a fantastic game against Utah. Utah still was able to disrupt the Trojans offensive line and pressure Kessler. The first quarter will be key to see how Cal does in terms of pressure.
6. Stanfurd and Notre Dame both moved the ball well against USC's defense, but everybody else has struggled. What did those two teams do to put up points and what chance does Cal have to duplicate their results?
They ran the ball really well. The Utah game was the first time that USC's defense finally tackled well and they were [sic] blitzed the Utes a lot. Cal needs to run the ball to set up the pass and Jared Goff needs to stay away from Cameron Smith.
7. What USC player on offense should Cal fans know about?
Ronald Jones II. He finally had 15 carries against Utah and is averaging 7.7 yards per carry. The freshman has made a great impact in 2015 and could be the next Reggie Bush. He is explosive, but also fights for the extra yards.
8. What USC player on defense should Cal fans know about?
Well, since everyone knows Cameron Smith now, I am going to go with another freshman: cornerback Iman Marshall. He is the third-leading tackler on the team and is probably the hardest hitter on the team since Taylor Mays. The freshman had two bad penalties called him against Utah, but has played as well as advertised considering he was the #1-ranked CB in the 2015 class.
9. Who do you want to punch in the face?