Some come with 'swagger'

The Texas twosome, freshman running backs Ronald Jones II and Aca'Cedric Ware, are pleased how this is working out for them as first-year Trojans.

So what are two Texas guys doing in LA, Aca'Cedrc Ware was asked Wednesday after practice. How exactly does that happen?

"We wanted to bring our Texas style, our Texas flare, out here," Ware says with a little grin. And what is this "Texas style?" he was asked.

"We all have our own swagger," Ware said, nodding to his Lone Star State buddy, Ronald Jones II, standing next to him. "We run like we know we're going to score every play."

For Jones, who's carried the ball 14 times and scored two touchdowns (with another 31-yarder called back on a penalty) to lead USC's five tailbacks in rushing with 84.5 yards a game, that one TD for every seven carries means Ware could be on to something.

Although RJII says hold on to the hyperbole. "It's way too soon," he says of people putting his name out there even on this USC team that has Tre Madden and Justin Davis ahead of him in the pecking order.

"I've heard the Reggie Bush [comparisons]," he says shaking his head. "He's the best ever."

Jones said that talk of him "being homesick" wasn't exactly right. "No, sir. I'm getting adjusted . . . I just missed my spots" he did say of his burger and barbecue joints back home.

And yes, the publicity his Whataburger comment got "shocked" him. "I might invest in them and bring them out here," he says.

Jones, who looks bigger up close than the 6-foot, 185 pounds he's listed in the program, is more likely to tell you about the things he has to work on rather than his electric speed.

And how he's been staying late to catch passes. "Yes sir," he says, "I've had too many drops."

And then there's correcting his pass protection blocking. "I have to use my hips," he says. And despite the success he's had running inside ["I have to thank my offensive line . . . they're much better than my blockers in high school."], he'd still rather run it outside where the defenders aren't quite so big.

Speaking for both of them, Ced says he came in to USC with one goal in mind: to play right away. And he and his Texas teammate have managed that.

"I'm glad I'm playing as a freshman," he said. "That's all."

So has RJII, who had originally commited to Oklahoma State before switching to USC, been hearing from people back home now that he's playing and doing well from the get-go?

Yeah, I have," he says. "I'm playing for the best coaches in the country . . . I love being out here with my backs."

The difference on defense

Safety Matt Lopes may be USC's second-leading tackler but the redshirt sophomore from Palos Verdes Estates feels like one. "We have five safeties who can play," he says.

And can do so at any time, which is the big difference from a year ago. "It's not like our two's can't be one's," Lopes says. "And it's not us scrambling when that happens."

That translates into a team that has a lot more players -- especially on defense -- ready to step in, Lopes says.

"I may not be a starter but I go out there knowing I can go in at any time. Any one of us could. You know you can go all out because there is someone behind you ready to go. It gives you a comfortable feeling knowing that."

Adoree' on offense

Asked if he's happy with his reps on offense, Adoree' Jackson responded: "The six times I was in, I caught the ball four times . . . I'm happy with the reps I'm getting."


Senior CB Kevon Seymour looked pretty stiff and while in pads wth a brace on his knee, mostly rehabbed with Iman Marshall going with the first group on defense . . . Sark said he won't be out there Saturday unless he's fully ready to go . . . freshman Isaiah Langley, was out of his Scout team jersey for a second straight day and in the five-man corner rotation for a look to see if he gives up his redshirt . . . Lamar Dawson got in more team contact work with the second group and that was encouraging, Sark said . . . and the senior ILB may play, according to Sark, "We'll see" . . . Sark said the key Saturday is for the USC defense not to let fifth-year senior QB Kevin Hogan to get on a hot streak and the key there is to not let him get comfortable, to not give him easy open targets with better early coverage and make him throw it under pressure . . . For his second day of work long-snapping, Jake Olson gets the chance to work with and talk to and deal with so many USC players and coaches as he goes about his business with the teamwork of so many teammates.

CHECK THIS OUT: For more details after Wednesday's workout, check out WEDNESDAY WEEK 3 GHOST NOTES.

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