first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanFollowing their win against Cal, the Trojans have a short week before they face Washington State on Friday in Pullman, Wa. In front of a sellout crowd expected at Martin Stadium, head coach Clay Helton and the Trojans will be put to the test. With injuries piling up and an explosive Washington State team playing in its own stadium, the Trojans have been put on upset alert by many around the country. Scouting the Cougars Led by head coach Mike Leach, the Cougars have come out of the gate strong in 2017. With a 4-0 record, Washington State is currently ranked 16th. This is due, in part, to a dynamic offense. Senior quarterback Luke Falk returns after a junior year that put him on the map. After forcing four interceptions against Cal, the Trojans hope to replicate some of their success in Pullman. But that could be a tall task. Helton said Falk is “about as efficient as there is in the league right now.” He’s been one of the best passers in the country, ranking second in touchdowns and fifth in passing yards. “I think he’s got a really good skill set,” defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. “He’s played in that system for a long time, he sees the field well and he doesn’t lock in on his first read.” Falk and the Cougars’ offense will test USC’s defense with their run and gun offense, made famous by Leach during his time at Texas Tech. Leach’s offensive philosophy is predicated on getting the ball to his playmakers in space. The running back combination of senior Jamal Morrow and sophomore James Williams has provided Falk with weapons out of the backfield. While the Cougars don’t run the ball often, Morrow and Williams are two players who will be watched closely by Helton and the defensive staff. Junior receiver Tavares Martin, the Cougars’ leading receiver with 390 yards and six touchdowns on the year, will test the Trojans’ secondary. Defensively, the Cougars are led by redshirt senior middle linebacker Isaac Dotson, who leads the team with 26 tackles. Sophomore safety Jalen Thompson is a player to watch in the secondary for Washington State. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold, who has thrown seven interceptions on the year, will need to cut down on turnovers. Healing Up Heading to Pullman on Friday, the Trojans still have several key players banged up. Junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett was held out for the second day in a row.“I think he’s gonna be able to go,” Helton said. “We’ve been pretty cautious with him.”Junior running racks Ronald Jones and Aca’Cedric Ware were both limited in Tuesday’s practice, but Helton expects them to be available. Junior linebacker Porter Gustin is still doubtful for Friday’s tilt. Redshirt sophomore tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe is still working his way back to the field. “We have a calendar mapped out,” Helton said Imatorbhebhe’s rehab. “Things change, everyone’s body is different, but we sat down and met with our staff and Daniel and got a plan so that hopefully within a couple weeks, he can get back.” While junior tight end Tyler Petite has done well with more snaps, getting Imatorbhebhe back would undoubtedly be big for the offense. While Helton and the staff don’t plan to rush Imatorbhebhe back, Helton said he was getting closer.Without a bye week, the Trojans don’t have a lot of time to recover. Helton and the staff have had to adjust accordingly. His first meeting every day is with head athletic trainer Russ Romano. Afterwards, Helton, Romano and his entire staff met to develop a plan for every player on the injury list. “Going 12 games straight, you have to have a great plan for each kid,” Helton said.Angeline Leaves Team News came out on Monday that redshirt sophomore Cary Angeline has decided to leave the team. Citing homesickness and a lack of playing time, the Pennsylvania native will look to get a fresh start at another school. “Cary’s a great kid,” Helton said. “He wants to find a place closer to home to be able to play. Unbelievable student and person. We wish him nothing but the best.” With Angeline’s departure, Trojans’ depth at tight end will be tested. Imatorbhebhe’s absence means the Trojans will have to rely on Petite and freshmen Josh Falo and Erik Krommenhoek to carry the load until reinforcements come.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *