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Oregon State Football vs USC: Q&A with Conquest Chronicles

We hear from SBN’s biggest authority on Trojan football for a new perspective on Saturday’s showdown.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The 4-4 USC Trojans are trying to reestablish some positive momentum this week with head coach Clay Helton drawing heavy criticism. They come to Reser Stadium this weekend to face our beloved Oregon State Beavers a week after the Beavs pulled off a miracle comeback at Colorado. Can it happen again this week? Or are the Trojans done messing around?

For the answers to these questions and more, we sat down with Dina Colunga: managing editor of

1. As someone who’s very much invested in USC football, how do you feel about how things are going with Clay Helton as the head coach right now?

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I think Helton made the right move taking over play calling duties for Saturday’s game from our OC Tee Martin. All season play calling has been suspect and it will hopefully be a breath of fresh air having Helton calling plays. Before he was named our HC he was our OC so I have faith in his abilities. As for him as a head coach, I want to wait and see what USC’s record is at the end of the season before I’m endorsing or calling for any heads. There is still a lot of football left to be played.

2. JT Daniels was in concussion protocol I understand, but how is his health looking for Saturday?

Daniels has passed protocol on Tuesday and is back at practice. He will be ready to go for Saturday unless something drastic happens.

3. Are we going to see a notable difference with a new play-caller on Saturday?

I hope so. The hope is that Helton won’t make the offense so predictable as Martin has done. USC has so many weapons on offense and it never felt like Martin was using them to their full potential, he was hindering the offense from being able to put games away or blow teams out. Will Helton remedy that? I don’t know, but the general feeling among fans is that the offense and play calling can’t get much worse.

4. Who is the guy on defense to watch on Saturday for USC?

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago I would’ve said freshman safety Talanoa Hufanga or but like the majority of our defense he is now on the injury list. Luckily we have senior captain Cameron Smith back at linebacker after having missed two games. He will be the one to watch, I don’t remember there ever being a game were Smith did not play lights out and after being away from action for two weeks, I expect him to come out flying and leading the charge on defense.

5. USC churns out NFL prospects left and right. Who’s the most pro ready guy on this roster right now?

Cameron Smith for sure. Like I said I don’t ever remember him having a bad game. He tackles well, wraps up unlike a lot of our guys unfortunately, has himself a handful of interceptions, and can make or break a defense’s performance. His leadership skills are prominent and I fully expect him to be an All-American this year. He is the first Trojan to have over 100 tackles since 2012 and is only the third since 2004. I’m thinking second round for him.

6. Score and any other predictions for this game?

I’m going out on a positive note and saying this is the game where we see USC’s offense take the training wheels off. 38-17 with Daniels throwing for 300+ yards. Ambitious I know, but someone has to be positive in the USC camp!

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