"Absolutely, I'll be ready for the first game," said Vainuku. "Getting ready for Hawaii now."
With that many players limited, practices have been a bit shorter on Howard Jones Field, but despite any negative effect it's had on the team, Vainuku has found the positive.
"With the low numbers it's a grind. It's actually really good for us," said Vainuku. "It toughens us up more, we get through the nicks and bumps. So it starts like a snowball: getting bigger and bigger and can't be stopped."
"It has an effect, but then again it's still camp, still two weeks of camp, so guys will be healthy before then," continued Vainuku. "It's a grind, we got a season to get to."
Before the first snap of the season starts on Aug. 29, Vainuku has been working on refining his technique on the field.
"Just perfecting all the little things—stance, steps, making sure I'm getting the right guys on plays and everything," said Vainuku. "I've pretty much got the playbook down, now it's all the little things in the plays."
During camp, Vainuku and Jahleel Pinner have been competing for the starting fullback spot, which Vainuku says he enjoys.
"I'm happy he's stepping in there," said Vainuku. "If I can't get in there, I expect big things from him because if I'm out and he doesn't know anything, then that's not helping the team at all. So I'm comfortable with him in there helping out the team while I'm out."
Twenty-three days until the season starts, and until then Soma says the Trojans are going to continue to "play hard-nose football," which he defines as "just running the rock and griding through those plays."