Football team begins preparing for Longhorns

Freshman quarterback JT Daniels threw two interceptions and zero touchdowns against Stanford, but he will look to turn the page against Texas this weekend on the road. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

After a tough loss at Stanford on Saturday, the Trojans will attempt to redeem themselves when they travel to the Lone Star State to play Texas with preparations ramping up on Tuesday.

Prized freshman quarterback JT Daniels struggled against the Cardinal, completing 16 of his 34 passes for 215 yards and two interceptions while getting sacked four times and losing a fumble against Stanford’s aggressive blitz. Daniels also briefly exited the game after bruising his hand, causing some concern about his status this week.

But during practice Tuesday, head coach Clay Helton said that Daniels looked good with his hand and is not experiencing pain.

“It’s pretty dang close,” Daniels said when asked if his hand was 100 percent . “It’s just an adjustment I have to make… It’s not like, ‘Oh, I can’t throw to the corner route, or something like that. It was just an in-game adjustment and that’s football and it happens. It’s just something I have to deal with.”  

Daniels also downplayed using his freshman status as an excuse for his play, saying that learning curves are still mistakes.

“They’re both the exact same thing, pretty much,” Daniels said. “They’re mistakes that you would expect someone that’s newer to make … We’re allowed to make mistakes, but it’s also you’re allowed to make that mistake once. … We’re learning from [mistakes] and trying to be better each day.”

Daniels also expressed confidence in freshman wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown, saying that his deep ball targeted to St. Brown that was intercepted in the fourth quarter was not St. Brown’s fault.

“It was not a good throw,” Daniels said. “It wasn’t where it was supposed to be — in the end zone, back corner. Obviously losing is never fun, you never go out to lose … I’m happy that we  got that experience under our belt in week one, rather than week 10, week 11.”

Usc – Texas Rivalry

Head coach Clay Helton is ready to move past last weekend and focus on Texas, a team that USC beat in an exciting double-overtime thriller last season.

“Really a special game, I think for both universities and both fanbases,” Helton said. “This has always been a special rivalry, and we look forward to having the opportunity to going down and facing the Longhorns.”

Helton broke down the Longhorns’ offense and emphasized what the team is looking to do to slow them down. Helton said Texas has a balanced offense and praised quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

“I’ve also been impressed with what coach Herman has been doing with Sam as far as his progression from a true freshman last year to a year’s worth of experience,” Helton said. “You see his poise in the pocket; he’s really maturing. He’s got two really good wideouts on the outside in Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey that are very efficient on the deep ball.”

Texas’ offense isn’t as prolific as Stanford’s, so if USC can limit Texas’ explosive plays and force Ehlinger outside of the pocket and throw on the run, they should be in good shape on that side of the field. Come Saturday evening, Daniels and the offense will look to do their part this time.

Injury Update

Redshirt freshman cornerback Isaiah Pola-Mao is out for the game with a shoulder injury. Senior cornerback Isaiah Langley is limited with hip and groin injuries.