The Trojans are wrapping up on-campus practices in preparation for the Cotton Bowl, as Monday was primarily a review session of what was installed last week as well as some additional work on special teams.
Clay Helton and his team will hold one more workout on Tuesday morning, and then the players will take off for a few days before reconvening on Saturday to head to Dallas, while the coaches will spend three days conducting the first early signing period from the 20-22.
One of the main benefits of the extra time off since the regular season is that the Trojans appear as fresh as we’ve seen them at any time this year.
“It’s been nice to have a couple weeks off,” USC quarterback Sam Darnold said. “My arm feels good, my legs feel fresh, and it’s good to go against a defense that has fresh legs as well.”
As far as injuries, we saw Velus Jones riding around the practice field on a motorized scooter with his foot injury, and Helton noted others such as Jackie Jones (ankle), Oluwole Betiku (groin), Jalen Greene (AC sprain) and Jacob Lichtenstein (ankle) are all listed as day-to-day.
Helton said all the paperwork from the USC end was sent in to the NFL for the December 15th deadline and it usually takes about two weeks to hear their feedback, and the players need to make their decisions by January 15th.
Early signing period
Helton said the process has been “unusual” for everyone the first time around and it has resulted is “some tired coaches” but once the early period is over it will be an excellent opportunity for the coaches to reset their boards and head into the final weeks before the February signing day with a much clearer picture of the remaining spots and targets.
Darnold talks Ohio State defense
“They have talent all around and they are really smart and instinctual. They disguise really well with what they do pre-snap so I need to do a good job post-snap of knowing their tendencies. They have a great d-line, they are all future NFL players, so it’s awesome that we have extra time to prepare for them.”