Trojans deal with injuries in Wednesday’s practice

Katie Chin | Daily Trojan

On Wednesday, the Trojans continued game preparation for this weekend’s tilt with Texas, as they strategized for the Longhorns’ high-octane offense and focused on rehabbing key players.

Defense prepares for high-powered Texas offense

After practice, head coach Clay Helton pointed to the Longhorns’ 58 percent third down efficiency rate as a major ingredient for their early offensive success; they are averaging 48.5 points over their first two games against Maryland and San Jose State. On Wednesday, the defense worked against

no-huddle looks in order to prepare for Texas head coach Tom Herman’s fast-paced offense.

“It’s a change of pace for us,” Helton said. “We go from a huddle team in Stanford to a very high-tempo team that can run a lot of plays and go extremely fast.”

Helton excited for raucous crowd

On Tuesday, USC announced that this week’s game will feature the Coliseum’s first sellout crowd since 2013. Helton voiced his excitement for what should be a special environment on Saturday.

“Our fans are so electric right now,” Helton said. “Even in the Western Michigan game the [attendance] numbers were down but that fourth quarter they produced two penalties for us with the loudness they brought. In the last game [against Stanford], it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. That’s what you live for, to play in front of 90,000 [people].”

Porter Gustin has surgery on big toe  

On Wednesday morning, junior linebacker Porter Gustin underwent surgery, having two screws implanted in his big toe. Helton compared the injury to the one former Trojan wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered to his hand during the star wide receiver’s sophomore year. While Smith-Schuster was able to play in the same week as the procedure, going on to record 138 yards and a touchdown against Arizona, Helton noted that Gustin’s situation is slightly different.

“He’s one of the toughest kids in my 23 years [of coaching] that I’ve ever been around,” Helton said. “If the doctors clear him and say it’s ‘OK’ and he’s able to handle the pain and not hurt himself further, [then he can play]. But if you remember JuJu’s injury, it happened on a Monday and this is Wednesday, so you’re talking about two later days.”

If Gustin is indeed out for the Texas game (he is officially listed as day-to-day), Helton said that sophomore Connor Murphy will replace him at the outside linebacker spot.