Written by Caroline Deisley and Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributors
Trojan Nation will head up to San Francisco for the annual "Weekender" as the Trojan football team looks to build on the momentum created last week and take on a struggling but dangerous opponent in the Cal Bears this Saturday.
- After a few weeks of playing with a depleted roster, most of the notable, recently-injured Trojans returned to action in an impressive and emphatic victory against the Oregon State Beavers. However, Morgan Breslin (hip), Randall Telfer (knee), Tre Madden (hamstring), and Anthony Brown (knee) remain out indefinitely. Marqise Simmons (lower back) and Kevin Graf (ankle) are both questionable while Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (knee) is probable for the upcoming game against Cal.
- Though they boast an unimpressive record, do not be deceived. Cal ranks eighth in the nation in passing yards, something the young Trojan secondary is extremely wary of. "The spread offense has given us problems. Cal's very quick and they play no huddle. They can also throw the ball vertically and they have a lot of speed. They're a dangerous team," said Coach Orgeron.
- In case anyone thinks Buck Allen's breakout performance last week against Oregon State was a fluke, the running back says otherwise, ensuring that fans can expect the same effort on Saturday. "I just went out there with confidence and I trusted my speed and technique," Allen said. "Good things happened and I'm going to go out and prepare the same way for Saturday."
- The sophomore running back ran for 133 yards marking his first career game rushing for more than 100 yards. He also put up three touchdowns to aid the Trojans in a 31-14 victory, their first since 2004 in Corvallis. He credited most of his success to his coaching staff, specifically running back coach Tommie Robinson saying, "I don't want to let him down because he's like a father figure to me. You know if you let your father down you feel some sort of way."
- Marqise Lee had quite the comeback against the Beavers with five receptions for 105 yards and a 71-yard touchdown to start the game. For the first time in a long time, the Trojans are looking healthy at the receiver position which Lee said makes things easier on everyone. "It's been a long time. It's great. We haven't had the complete group in awhile. Being complete now is good because no one has to be in there 24/7. We can split the work and you always have fresh legs."
- Last week's exciting performance against Oregon State proved that things were finally starting to click for the Trojans. The emergent leader of this team, Cody Kessler, recognizes the importance of keeping the same attitude as the team heads into its final games of the regular season saying, "Obviously you get better as the season goes on and you build more camaraderie. However, we only have a few conference games remaining so it's really going to come down to the wire. We're definitely not trying to look too far ahead."
- Coach O spent the entire practice focusing on the specific details that the Trojans need to improve on if they want to continue succeeding in this exciting season. He had all of the coaches return to basic drills so that the players could see that there was still a lot of work needing to be done even at the most basic level. "The most important thing is to take it one game at a time and really focus on how we can continue to get better ourselves," said the head coach.
Here's the rest of Coach Orgeron's post practice press conference...