Clay Helton has talked about using the bye week to get extended practice reps for some reserves who may end up playing more of a role for the Trojans during the stretch run of the season. Here are seven players who could get some of that extra work:
OLB Oluwole Betiku: The most obvious player on this list as the redshirt year was recently burned for Oluwole with the thought that he will be able to provide a pass rush option in the defensive rotation. Helton said that “a light turned on” for Betiku during practices a couple weeks ago and he’s seen limited playing time in both games since then as a back-up to Porter Gustin. Wole is still raw but his pursuit skills cannot be denied and any contribution he’s able to provide this year is likely only a precursor to what he will do in the future.
RB Dominic Davis: There might not have been a more dazzling play in the USC victory over Arizona than the 89-yard sprint from Davis, and that’s not a fluke play based on what we’ve seen from Davis at various points on the practice field. Speed is Dominic’s game and his biggest issue with getting playing time has been a deep tailback rotation, but with Justin Davis out we could certainly see Dominic get more carries along with Ronald Jones and Aca’Cedric Ware. There is also the thought that Dominic could be used as a slot receiver too, he has seen time there before.
ILB Jordan Iosefa: When Michael Hutchings was sidelined in practice last week we saw Iosefa taking reps with the first unit at the WLB spot. That’s quite a rise for a freshman who wasn’t high on the recruiting lists but Jordan has showed a lot of quickness and big hitting ability. There is an opportunity here for Jordan to set himself up as a key reserve for the remainder of the season and also to position himself as the heir apparent next year after Hutchings leaves.
FB Reuben Peters: There hasn’t been much use of Peters in the offense but when he’s been in there he has shown that he can be physical. Count me as one of the many USC fans who would like to see more of a fullback and right now Peters is the only one on the roster so he is the option.
S Jamel Cook: This is probably the time when a decision will be made on whether or not to redshirt Cook. The freshman has been out of action most of the year with a foot injury but he’s been practicing lately and he certainly stands out on the field with his tall frame. At this point it would be a mild surprise if the redshirt year is burned because there isn’t a glaring need in the secondary but it will certainly be nice to see what Cook can do with some extended reps.
DT Christian Rector: Depth along the interior of the d-line is always going to be welcome and Rector (photo above) has shown flashes of being ready to contribute. He’s been limited so far to spot duty behind Rasheem Green but he will get the chance to show that he can provide more in the rotation.
WR Jalen Greene: It’s not a matter of needing to find out what Jalen can do, he’s certainly shown enough at this point in his Trojan career to know that he can contribute as either a receiver or quarterback. But with Steven Mitchell out for the rest of the season there is a greater need for Jalen to focus on receiver, with him and Deontay Burnett expected to fill the void in Mitchell’s absence.