Head down, man down · Freshman running back Ronald Jones II currently leads all Trojan rushers with 466 yards this season. His four touchdowns on the ground share the team lead, along with redshirt senior Tre Madden. – Tal Volk | Daily TrojanIt was another strong, physical and competitive practice for the Trojans. Interim head coach Clay Helton kept the team’s emphasis on the basics.“I think these techniques and fundamentals are really paying off,” Helton said. “It’ll be critical in this game.”Defensive line coach Chris Wilson also emphasized technique with his players. Looking to Cal, the Trojans will need to be able to shut down quarterback Jared Goff. Wilson noted that Goff is “the best” in college football.“[Goff is] accurate. He’s smooth in the pocket,” Wilson said. “He can make every throw … He’s what you look for.”With the strong performance from the defense against Utah, Wilson said he was impressed with the continually strong play from the freshmen.“They’re fun, they’re talented, they like to play,” Wilson said. “They really want to be really good football players.”Specifically, freshman inside linebacker Cameron Smith boasted three interceptions and a team-high nine tackles. Though Smith was dominant, he hasn’t let his strong performance have an effect on his practice. His main focus is on the team’s play as a whole.“I want to be there for my teammates,” Smith said. “And help my team as much as possible.”Smith is also looking to continue to improve his game.“I’m trying to learn as much as possible,” Smith said. “And to make the plays when they’re there.”Not only do the Trojans have freshmen starters, but they also have much-needed depth. This depth has been especially beneficial with the injuries over the last couple of games. Helton mentioned that red shirt wide receivers Steven Mitchell Jr. and Darreus Rogers have both started playing a bit more. Left tackle Chad Wheeler was practicing and will be good to go for Saturday.With the freshman starters, the Trojans have added versatility on the field.“I think our youth and talent is what shines so brightly here at ‘SC,” Helton said. “I think there’s a tremendous future for this University.”Freshman cornerback Iman Marshall had two pass interference calls against Utah, but Helton isn’t worried because Marshall is an aggressive player. Helton even pointed out that Marshall is turning into a “premier corner.”“He’s so big and strong, he’s an absolute weapon,” Helton said. “I don’t want to take that part of the game away from him.”On the offense, Helton will look for tailback Ronald Jones II to get more snaps on the ball because of his continued performances. Not only has Jones been successful on the field, but he also has been putting in hard work and time during practice to become a more complete player.“As you produce, your role increases,” Helton said. “That’s just the nature of football.”Against Cal, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox wants to see the team remain consistent. Against Notre Dame, the defense missed some coverage assignments, but they made adjustments and limited those mistakes against Utah. Wilcox credits the improvements to mental intensity, focus and consistent performances.“We just need to be more consistent overall,” Wilcox said.To beat Cal, the Trojans will have to shut down Goff and Cal’s running game.“As an offense, they’re extremely explosive,” Wilcox said. “It’ll be a great challenge for us.”Helton spent time working with the offensive line during practice. As the son of an offensive line coach, Helton knows the importance of having a strong line.“I just want them to feel the intensity and passion that I have for that group,” Helton said. “For us to win the championship, it’s going to be won in the trenches.”Sophomore wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has continued to be a strong point for the Trojans’ offense.“[Smith-Schuster] reminds me so much of the great ones that have been here,” Helton said.Helton pointed out that Smith-Schuster is always competing like it’s a game. Helton talked about how he’s always playing at his top gear.“It’s his nature,” Helton said. “He only knows one speed, God bless him.”For the Trojans to beat Cal, they will need to stay focused on their fundamentals and carry their dominant momentum from the Utah game.
First Published: 17th August, 2020 07:42 IST WATCH US LIVE Last Updated: 17th August, 2020 07:42 IST Keibert Ruiz Starts Career With HR, Dodgers Sweep Angels 8-3 Keibert Ruiz homered in his first major league at-bat, Corey Seager hit a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Freeway Series with an 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. FOLLOW US COMMENT LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By Associated Press Television News Keibert Ruiz homered in his first major league at-bat, Corey Seager hit a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Freeway Series with an 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.Max Muncy had a two-run homer, Matt Beaty also homered and Mookie Betts added an RBI single for the NL-leading Dodgers (16-7), who have won a season-best five straight.The Dodgers also swept a three-game series at Angel Stadium for the first time since interleague play began in 1997, although the Angels still hold a 70-57 overall lead in the rivalry.Anthony Rendon homered for the fifth time in six games for the Angels, who have lost four straight. Brian Goodwin also homered and David Fletcher extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games, but the big-budget Halos have matched the slowest start in franchise history at 7-15.Ruiz, a 22-year-old catcher from Venezuela, made his big-league debut behind the plate. In the third inning, he smashed a 1-1 fastball from Julio Teherán (0-2) down the right field line with his first big-league swing.The homer in the mostly silent, empty stadium audibly delighted his new teammates, who dispatched pitcher Julio Urías to find the souvenir ball amid the tarps and empty seats.Ruiz is generally ranked the third-best prospect in the Dodgers’ perpetually bountiful farm system. He became the seventh player in the franchise’s 131-year history to homer in his first at-bat, and the first since Garey Ingram in 1994.Muncy added his two-run shot later in the third, and Seager connected off Matt Andriese for his fifth homer in the fourth.Dustin May lasted only 4 1/3 innings for the Dodgers, giving up seven hits and two runs with two strikeouts on 88 pitches.Scott Alexander (1-0) gave up three hits and a run over two innings.Teherán struggled again with his new team, yielding six hits and four runs in 3 1/3 innings. His ERA is up to 12.38 over three starts.Rendon hit the sixth homer of his ascendant season leading off the fourth. Fletcher singled in the fifth, extending the Angels’ longest hitting streak since 2017. Goodwin homered in the sixth.WEIRD PLAYAngels rookie Jo Adell saved a run in the second when he threw out Beaty at second base trying to stretch a long two-out single into a double. Edwin Rios had been on second, but he felt tightness in his left hamstring while running out his double, and he subsequently couldn’t sprint from second to home on Beaty’s hit, failing to touch home before Beaty was tagged out.TRAINER’S ROOMDodgers: Rios left the game in the bottom half of the second. … Alex Wood was scheduled for a bullpen session Sunday. He made just one start before going on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation.Angels: Slumping 40-year-old Albert Pujols sat out back-to-back games — the first time that’s happened when he was healthy during his nine seasons in Anaheim. The three-time NL MVP recently reached 659 homers to move right behind Willie Mays for fifth place in baseball history, but he’s batting .186.(Image Credit Pixabay)