USC preparing for a San Jose State team that can’t be overlooked

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LOS ANGELES — As the assemblage shot play kicked disconnected successful immoderate stadiums crossed the state this past weekend, USC got 1 past Saturday to remainder earlier its 2021 run starts successful earnest. Some went location to walk clip with family, others whitethorn person turned connected 1 of the Week 0 games.

One of those contests progressive USC’s Week 1 opponent, San Jose State. The Spartans picked up close wherever they near disconnected past play with a 45-14 drubbing of Southern Utah.

“Kind of a double-edged sword,” USC antiaircraft coordinator Todd Orlando said past week of San Jose State getting a caput commencement to the season. “Because you get an accidental to spot the radical that they’re going to play now. … But erstwhile you get crippled experience, it’s hard to simulate that successful practice.”

The Spartans whitethorn not beryllium a Power Five opponent, but they inactive contiguous a precise existent menace to the Trojans. A twelvemonth ago, San Jose State went undefeated successful the regular play and bushed Boise State 34-20 successful the Mountain West title game, finishing No. 24 successful the AP poll.

And there’s been small turnover connected the San Jose State roster. The Spartans had a mates of apical receivers to replace, but starting backmost Nick Starkel is back, arsenic are each 5 starting violative linemen, each interaction moving backmost and each contributor connected the defense.

That cohesion was connected afloat show successful the Spartans’ triumph implicit Southern Utah, out-gaining their hostile 543-250. There were immoderate mistakes, similar 2 turnovers and 11 penalties accounting for 91 yards and 4 Southern Utah archetypal downs. But the Spartans didn’t fto those interaction the last result.

“I thought the effort looked truly bully to me,” caput manager Brent Brennan said aft the game. “We decidedly had immoderate first-game rustiness, first-game over-excitement. But I’m encouraged.”

USC hoped to get immoderate clarity connected who would regenerate San Jose State’s apical receivers from a twelvemonth ago, Tre Walker and Bailey Gaither. But Starkel dispersed the shot around, nary receiver making much than 3 catches successful the opener and a full of 9 Spartans making receptions, and 4 catching touchdown passes.

Freshman receiver Charles Ross led the squad with 3 catches for 77 yards, 65 of which came connected a touchdown catch.

All of this is to say, USC is playing a squad astatine the Coliseum with acquisition and fewer holes connected the roster that could beryllium a tougher matchup than immoderate of the Pac-12 teams connected the Trojans’ schedule.

USC started preparing for the Spartans past Wednesday aft campy came to an end. The prep began with first- and second-down install, followed by third-down and red-zone readying earlier a last signifier astatine the Coliseum Saturday successful which the squad practiced with live-game situations similar coaches successful the property container communicating with headsets.

But present it’s the archetypal crippled week of the year.

“These kids person enactment successful a batch of enactment to get to this point,” USC caput manager Clay Helton said past week. “It’s been highly nice, from the offseason to the summertime to grooming campy to get backmost to a small normality. I tin archer you, we’re a batch further up astatine this constituent present than we were astatine this constituent past year.”

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