Our friends over at Conquest Chronicles graciously answered our questions about the Trojans. Take a look!
Which player on offense should Cal fans know about?
I think by now a lot of people know about Kedon Slovis, Michael Pittman Jr, Amon-Ra St.Brown, but I think fans should keep their eye on Drake London. The freshman wide receiver, Who is also a Shooting Guard and will be playing for the Trojans hoops team, has consistently been putting together solid games through the last three weeks. He has the size and athleticism to make plays and is becoming one of Slovis favorite targets.
Which player on defense should Cal fans know about?
Drake Jackson is arguably one of the Pac-12’s best defensive freshmen. He’s making an impact with his ability off the edge and causing havoc in the opposing backfield. Another is safety Talanoa Hufanga. Hufanga has done a great job masking some of the defenses mistakes this season. Those two players Cal fans need to keep tabs on.
Who’s one under-the-radar or X-factor player who could swing this game for you?
Kenan Christon. The USC run game will dictate this offense success moving forward. The status of Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai are up in the air so Christon’s contribution could be huge and a difference maker in this game Saturday night.
What’s the situation at running back? Is one of the injured running backs (Malepeai, Carr, Stepp) about to return, or is Helton going to burn Kenan Christon’s redshirt?
Carr and Malepeai could likely return against Cal Saturday night. They warmed up at the ASU game but didn’t play. Their status will depend on how they look during practice. Monday Helton shared that Christon won’t redshirt. I think this means that Stepp won’t be returning anytime soon. USC will need three healthy backs and Christon will likely see a good amount of carries this week and next week.
Aside from Urban Meyer, who is at the top of your coaches wish-list?
Bob Stoops is No. 2 on my wish list. I think if you can’t get Meyer then you can get Stoops pending if we wants to leave the XFL at that point. I know many have Franklin on that list as well, but I question if they can lure him away from Penn State at this point. I think a guy like Jimmy Lake from Washington or, and USC fans shouldn’t hate me for this, PJ Fleck should honestly be looked at if you can’t get the bigger names. Again I think USC can pull Meyer or Stoops, but these are guys who SC should have on their list.
Has Kedon Slovis done enough to earn the starting job once JT Daniels comes back?
I honestly think so and here’s my view on it. Slovis has had freshmen moments which is typical, but how the way he’s handled this offense has been pretty impressive. Now with JT, USC would’ve had wins against BYU and maybe Washington and Notre Dame. I think the battle next year will depend on how JT looks. Slovis has the upper hand based on time in the offense. You also bank on what the new head coach is looking for.
Why does USC play so chippy in every single game? For example, why was USC so mad at BYU? The last time they played was 2004, and yet it seemed like they were old rivals. What gives?
Football is a chippy game and when opposing teams play USC, it’s a HUGE deal to those teams. I think this year USC is set to prove people wrong about them which is why they also bring some edge to them. However, I think this has more so to do with other teams wanting to prove a point against USC. The Trojans are still that landmark that people want to take down.
What does SC need to do to win the game?
Not let up and play a full game of football. USC has yet to put together a complete game which has been a major problem this season. Offensively the team have to finish drives and get better in the red zone. Defensively they must create pressure. USC has lacked in the pass rushing department. If they can get to Modster or Garbers then they will be in good shape in this game.
What does Cal need to do to win the game?
Get to Kedon Slovis and disguise their coverage to confuse the freshman. Cal’s defense does a great job disguising their coverage which can throw quarterbacks off. If they can get to Slovis and force him to make mistakes then they can win this game.
How do you see the game going?
I think this game will very similar to the ASU game last week. Cal rebounded from their four game losing streak with that win against Washington State and could qualify for a bowl game with a win. Cal will keep this close early on but I think the Trojans passing game will be too much for Cal this week. I have USC winning 38-28.
Whom do you most want to punch in the face?
Honestly there’s too many to pick here but I’m going to say the Pac-12 officiating crew. The amount of mess ups they have on a weekly basis is almost criminal here. The fact that Larry Scott is okay with this is even more baffling to even think about.