Shotgun Spratling |

Down to the defense?

On a day for the defense to do the talking, Adoree' and BKU and Malik Dorton do just that. It's time to play, they say, and they'll be ready.

Adoree' Jackson says if USC wins the coin toss Saturday, the Trojans should turn down the chance for him to get the ball on a kickoff to start.

"I want to get on defense to start," said the junior corner who hasn't run a single play on offense that any of the media have seen this August. "I want to see our defense get out there and perform."

Here's how he sees this playing out. "Hopefully we'll get them into a three-and-out and I'll get a punt return." That way he gets to play defense -- and gets the ball.

While everybody knows Adoree' on this defense, almost no one knows defensive end Malik Dorton. Even USC fans are worried the converted linebacker is too small. "Tell those people to come down and line up against me," says the now-285-pound redshirt sophomore.

But it's Alabama that he's going to be lining up against. Here's his game plan for the Trojans: "Play assignment football, sound football, and get them into third down." Just the way his D-line coach Kenechi Udeze has been drilling it into his pupils.

Then there's this for all the hoopla of playing the defending national champs in the opener. "We're treating it like it's a normal game -- a regular game," Malik says. "After all, we're USC. We're used to games like this."

And it's not like Alabama, as good as it is and as well as the Tide has recruited recently, doesn''t have some issues, Malik says. He notes they'll be without graduated three-year starter at center, All-America Ryan Kelly, and they've had to make a switch there the last couple of days "and they have a true freshman (Folsom's Jonah Williams) at tackle and we don't know whether No. 50 (Alphonse Taylor, suspended after a DUI that was dismissed Tuesday) will play or not."

And for BKU, who will be doing his first-ever full-time assistant's gig from his eye-in-the-sky spot as the lone defensive assistant in the booth, it's one place he's not really a rookie. He did it for the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh in past seasons "and he's got a real eye for it," Clay Helton said, unaware of the mini-uproar on the Peristyle at the news this week.

"It's the best of both worlds," Clay said of having Clancy Pendergast and Johnny Nansen on the sideline dealing with the front seven. Although BKU will have a pipeline as well, if he needs it, "with my GA (Austin Clark)," he says.

But he's not unhappy at being up in the booth. "If our defensive coordinator thinks that's the best way for me to contribute," BKU says, he's down with it.

Although he said he was a bit amazed that his assignment had created a small controversy this week on the Peristyle with a number of critics saying they wanted USC's defensive line coach down on the field grabbing and motivating players in person.

He'll do his motivating at practice, BKU says. But he'd rather not have to keep doing it right now as they finish up Practice No. 27. He'd like a game. And so would his players. "They're driving me crazy," BKU said. "I think everybody's going to be a little bit happier when the game gets here."

Adoree' is on the coaches' bandwagon. "I think they're handling it pretty well," he said of the way the defense and special teams are going. "I'm trusting Coach Clancy and Coach [John] Baxter to put us into the best position to succeed." 

But echoing BKU, Adoree' said "our whole team just wants to get out there and play . . . I know our team is anxious . . . I think they [Alabama} are too."

As to his offensive play, Adoree' says it'll happen "just when I'm needed," and this weekend, "I don't think they'll need me."

Clay said "Yes," USC will use Adoree' on offense, "probably five to six plays." Not enough to take away from his opportunity to be one of the nation's top defensive backs.

No pressure on him at all, Adoree' says. "Just play my game. Don't worry about the atmosphere of the game." Although he's looking forward to it. "I like going to the SEC," he said, "since we're out on the West Coast. I also like going to Notre Dame."

Adoree' said he likes people in the stands when the teams come out, not tailgating in perfect weather. "And he likes it when the opponents' fans "are all rowdy-up." Which is where they'll be Saturday.

Tuesday footnoted

Captains named Wednesday after a Monday vote of the team: Max Browne and Zach Banner for the offense and and Adoree' and Michael Hutchings for the defense . . . Injury report has safety Marvell Tell all the way back and backup safety Ykili Ross over his Tuesday illness. Left offensive tackle Chad Wheeler looks like his plantar fasciitis has been abating with the steel orthotic and he made it through practice pain free and gave the thumbs-up sign as he left with Clay saying he's hoping to get a couple of series out of him behind starter Chuma Edoga Saturday. . . At left guard, Clay said Chris Brown and Damien Mama are going to split that spot 50-50 just as they have all through August . . . For a play-by-play on Wednesday's practice, check out the Ghost Notes.

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