LOS ANGELES (AP) — By way of two video games, there have been two disparate sides to the Trojans.
There have been stretches when Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis makes throws with out the identical velocity he confirmed as a freshman, just for him to search out that arm energy within the closing minutes to guide game-winning drives in opposition to Arizona State and Arizona.
There are occasions when the bottom recreation glides down the sector with chunk performs and constant good points, solely to fail to transform briefly yardage conditions.
Coach Clay Helton believes No. 20 USC is nearer to being the higher model of what it has proven to date, one thing he hopes to verify in opposition to Utah on Saturday.
”I sit up for seeing us have an ideal recreation,” Helton stated Tuesday. ”It is all the time on the market. That is the great thing about the sport, you are all the time preventing to have an ideal recreation. However for those who’re speaking concerning the gamers as this group and individually, I am seeing that development.”
Statistics again up a few of Helton’s confidence.
USC (2-0, 2-0 Pac-12) is averaging 527 yards per recreation, together with 175 yards speeding in opposition to the Solar Devils and 173 in opposition to the Wildcats. The offensive line, which incorporates new starters at left and proper sort out, has allowed three sacks on 105 referred to as passes for Slovis. The Trojans have reached the crimson zone on 14 of their 27 possessions.
Nevertheless, USC has struggled to maximise these alternatives, partially due to a surprising incapacity to run the ball when needing a single yard. They’re 4 of 11 working on third- and fourth-and-1.
Whereas followers and even the Fox broadcast group of Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt have been questioning why USC would not function underneath heart in such conditions, offensive coordinator Graham Harrell stated there isn’t a motive to step away from his Air Raid offense working out of the shotgun.
”It is only a mentality,” Harrell stated. ”On the finish of the day for those who are available there with the proper mentality and the proper mindset and resolve you are gonna be bodily and go get it, we’re gonna go get it.”
As for Slovis, he’s 70 of 98 passing for 706 yards and three touchdowns in opposition to one interception to start out his abbreviated sophomore season. However a lot of that success comes from how he elevated his play within the closing minutes in opposition to Arizona State and Arizona, finishing 21 of 26 makes an attempt for 257 yards and three touchdowns within the remaining 4 drives of these comeback wins.
Slovis was not practically as sharp at first of these video games. A scarcity of tight spirals at instances has raised considerations Slovis will not be absolutely recovered from offseason elbow surgical procedure after struggling an damage within the Vacation Bowl, however he rejected the notion. Slovis stated his mechanics weren’t as constant as they wanted to be and bettering his footwork and throwing movement will lead to higher throws.
Helton attributed Slovis’ points to dealing with new footballs that have been nonetheless slick, a idea Harrell backed up Tuesday.
”I believe greater than something, he form of bought in his head as a result of early on a ball most likely slipped out of his hand after which he thought of it an excessive amount of, however there’s nothing unsuitable with Kedon’s mechanics,” Harrell stated.
Regardless of the trigger, USC can not afford extra lapses on offense if it hopes to finish its three-game dropping streak in Salt Lake Metropolis.
”I believe we have been fairly good up thus far, however we simply have to preserve working so we may be task excellent and never make any of these little errors which have a big effect,” proper sort out Jalen McKenzie stated.
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