USC is in the midst of preparation for their first game under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, and one of the most notable differences has been the length of practice. Sunday night, the Trojans continued to play past sunset, and even past the three horns signaling the end of practice.
However, most players like Trojan fullback Jahleel Pinner don't mind the extra few minutes on the field. No. 38 says it's just a little extra preparation for the new program's debut.
"That's just Coach O," said Pinner. "He's just trying to get us to do a few different things during practice, so it ran a little bit longer."
The other obvious difference in game week preparation has been the energy on Howard Jones. Orgeron said he's trying to up the tempo of the Trojans during practice, but is not sure if they will be able to show off their new look against Arizona on Thursday just yet.
"Coach O brings a lot of energy to wherever he's at," said Pinner. "So definitely the whole field was energized today."
"It's a lot more physical, a lot more technique wise," Pinner continued. "He loves doing one-on-one, focusing on technique. But for the most part it's still the same practice."
One of the first things Orgeron did as interim head coach was to bring back the "fun and joy" to Trojan football. While it started with small things like bringing cookies and sweets back to the Galen cafeteria and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, Pinner says it helped boost the morale of the Trojan squad.
"It doesn't affect our play on the field, it more just rewards the players," said Pinner. "Players always love to get rewarded, so when Coach O does the little things, we love little things like that."
Hopefully for Troy those cookies will pay off as they face off against a strong Wildcat linebacker core lead by senior Jake Fischer.
"They got a great defense. Coach talk about it all the time, linebackers are good, defense is really good, so we're just going to go out there and play our game," said Pinner.
Pinner says he and the rest of the Trojan offense have been focusing specifically on their technique this week in preparation for the strong defensive front.
"A lot of it is technique work because the linebackers are pretty good," said Pinner. "If we work on our technique this week, we should be good."
The Trojans' matchup against the Wildcats will be the first non-Thanksgiving non-bowl game played on a Thursday in the Coliseum. Pinner says he hopes the fans are ready to go.
"I hope the crowd's coming. We're going to be rocking and I hope the crowd will be rocking with us," said Pinner.