The heat is on the Trojans literally and figuratively.
- The acronym of the day was "DYJ" meaning "Do Your Job." In the anxiety of the moment Saturday night, the defense did not stick to its responsibilities and tried to do too much, which led to large gaps and explosive plays. "Everybody needs to do their own job and is on their own assignment. That's really the biggest thing," said DT Antwaun Woods. "We just weren't doing our jobs."
- Option football can expose a defense that is not sticking to its assignments. "I think there were times during the game where we were fine," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. "And other times, we started to press, where we were trying to do too much and when you do that against an option team, that costs you."
- Wilcox took responsibility for the overall defensive breakdown Saturday. "We've got good kids. They care," he said. "We've just got to be more detailed and disciplined with our eyes. We've got to play with better technique and we will. But obviously it starts with me, it's my job, and I've got to do a better job preparing them."
- LB Hayes Pullard echoed the same sentiments about keeping to the task even when things go bad. "You've got to trust your teammates and be able to stay focused out there, when bullets start flying you can't lose your fundamentals and what we've been taught all week."
- Su'a Cravens had a strong game with three tackles-for-loss, but he is playing out of his natural position as a hybrid safety/linebacker in this system. "I like him around the ball," said Sarkisian. "I don't know if it best suits our team and him exactly right, but what I do know is that he is closer to the action. He's able to make more plays."
- As for the freshmen, Adoree' Jackson was the "player of the day" in practice forcing three turnovers.
- WR Ajene Harris, who has not gotten many opportunities in the first three weeks, is on the rise again. "For this week, for him, it's kind of gotten him back to training camp mode, which is when he really impressed us the most," said Sarkisian. "We have refocused this week on Ajene in the slot, and it's showing up again. His toughness, his playmaking ability, and that's allowed us to move Nelson [Agholor] a little bit more outside, where he is really comfortable too."
- Here is Sarkisian's morning press conference...