Hufanga and Gaoteote Taking Charge

Adam Grosbard (The Register)  —  In football, a player’s value and effectiveness can be directly tied to the fit in the scheme laid out by the coaching staff.

Fortunately for USC, there is a growing belief that the defensive scheme under new coordinator Todd Orlando is a good fit for some of the stalwarts already on the roster.

Talanoa Hufanga during an NCAA football game against Utah on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

One of the players benefiting from the system is strong safety Talanoa Hufanga. The junior has long been one of the key cogs in USC’s defense; he had 51 tackles as a true freshman, and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors as a sophomore while missing three games with injury.

Now as healthy as he’s been in his time at USC, Hufanga has appeared to be a perfect fit for Orlando’s defense through the first two weeks of camp.

“The variety of different fronts and coverages he gives, it really was made for Talanoa,” head coach Clay Helton said. “You’re talking about a 210-, 215-pound man that runs a 4.4, can cover, can hit, can be a box player. Can literally walk in between the tackles and be in a linebacker position. He’s one of those special, special skill sets that are required for this system.”

The system asks Hufanga and free safety Isaiah Pola-Mao to be the quarterbacks of the defense, calling out plays and getting teammates aligned. It’s a new responsibility, but one the pair is embracing.

“I think our coaches have done a great job of making it more known that we have to be a bigger presence than it used to be,” Hufanga said Wednesday on a Pac-12 media call. “We gotta make up for some things that we didn’t do in the past, for sure.”

Another player who has seemed to thrive under Orlando is outside linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV. One area Orlando, who also serves as linebackers coach, has drilled into Gaoteote on the daily is how to get off blocks to make plays on the ball.

Helton has noticed the junior creating separation from tackles and guards, as opposed to last year when Gaoteote tended to stay stuck to his blocker. But Gaoteote is also staying in shape, cutting 10-15 pounds off his weight from last season, and playing with more energy as a result.

“He just has this mental toughness right now and physicality right now that he’s just taking his game to a different level,” Helton said.

ocregister.com

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Chris
Knighted Member
October 26, 2020 7:34 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Just bad all the way around. Not sure he will survive this. I am rooting for him, but it’s getting worse by the week.

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
October 26, 2020 8:17 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I don’t question Sam’s abilities, especially in the Jets organization. Absolutely pathetic would be the best description of that team. If leadership blames the QB for their poor performance it shows what Sam is dealing with, politically savvy front office covering their pathetic asses. If Sam gets traded or released it would be the best thing for him, he would do well with a line that can block, although it may take him a while to adjust to it.

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
October 25, 2020 4:11 pm

Did anyone see the quadruple doink field goal? Here is the link. Never have I seen it before. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBOT-oWKJWU

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
October 25, 2020 9:10 pm
Reply to  Steveg

That is Amazing!

HOF19
Noble Member
October 25, 2020 11:45 am

Mr. Fickell and his Cinn Bearcats at # 7 in the AP Poll……Will Mr. Fickell listen to offers this off-season ?????

Chris
Knighted Member
October 25, 2020 3:24 pm
Reply to  HOF19

I’ll take luke with these assistants in a heartbeat.

John Weld
Admin
Diamond Member
October 25, 2020 10:49 am

Press Release from Munir McClain and family. They are particularly mad at Coach Helton for telling them not to go public with their grievances. There is going to be a press conference later today.

Updated version of the press release re: suspended #USC WR Munir McClain. pic.twitter.com/lZycNdrkCa

— Antonio Morales (@AntonioCMorales) October 25, 2020

Last edited 1 month ago by John Weld
Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
October 25, 2020 1:44 pm
Reply to  John Weld

What the heck is that all about?

John Weld
Admin
Diamond Member
October 25, 2020 3:48 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

Munir McClain applied for Pandemic unemployment benefits and he has been receiving $767.00 per week from the State of California. Munir’s application was based on business that he owns and operates. He is under investiagation for fraudulantly receiving these pandemic benefits and while the investigation is ongoing he has been suspended from the team.

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
October 25, 2020 9:12 pm
Reply to  John Weld

It took my wife 7 months to clear up an Unemployment versus Disability claim thanks to the air heads that work for the state of California, Munir may have gotten jobbed by those bureaucrats. Pulling the race card on USC may be a bit much but we shall see.

Last edited 1 month ago by Golden Trojan
gametv
Noble Member
October 26, 2020 10:11 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

I have an unresolved tax issue on my 2018 return. Dealing with the IRS has convinced me that government is completely inept. The issues are as clear as day, but it is impossible to get on the phone with someone who can actually just make a change, or even initiate a process to make a change. And whoever processes the 1040X simply ignores the correct information.

The US has the most amazing private sector and the absolute worst public sector of any country. Even the excesses of the private sector are a result of ineffective legislation by the government.

Chris
Knighted Member
October 24, 2020 10:06 pm

I know this is wrong message board, but I am so tired of this era of Dodgers baseball. It’s not over, but tonight felt very Bill Buckner like.

John Weld
Admin
Diamond Member
October 24, 2020 11:28 pm
Reply to  Chris

I am not a baseball fan but I watched the whole game and the ending felt like a punch to my gut….I felt sick to lose that way.
Also, I am not a fan of the modern baseball style: 12 pitching changes and the infield shifts where you end up with four outfielders and no third baseman.

gametv
Noble Member
October 24, 2020 3:12 pm

penn state losing to indiana would be another roadblock to a usc cfp berth falling away.

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
October 24, 2020 4:43 pm
Reply to  gametv

You got it. I dislike the Penn St coach so #8 is going to fall.And they did.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steveg
Steveg
Mt Rushmore
October 24, 2020 1:05 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I would have sworn all those refs were all OSU grads.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
October 25, 2020 12:58 pm
Reply to  Steveg

Absolutely

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
October 24, 2020 1:06 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Is the discussion closed on expanding the playoff format for this season?

gametv
Noble Member
October 24, 2020 1:38 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

actually the best chance for USC is if those three teams are dominant and go undefeated. that would mean all the teams outside the Big 12 would have two losses after the conference title games, and SC as an undefeated team would get the 4th spot. only other team that could be less than 2 losses is maybe Oklahoma State, but they have alot of good teams to beat before they get there. of course, BYU, Cincinnati and some of the non-Power 5 teams could be undefeated or less than one loss, but SC would rank ahead of them. we… Read more »

gametv
Noble Member
October 25, 2020 9:47 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

with Helton’s luck a 2% chance is a 50% chance. with penn state now out, we have oklahoma state, wisconsin, michigan to lose a least one game during the regular season and lose the conference title. kansas state could also emerge with one loss if they win out and win the conference title. big 10 feels like it will be tough for anyone (except ohio state) to emerge from the regular season undefeated, then ohio state will win the title. so two losses for everyone. big 12 only oklahoma state and kansas state could be one loss teams and they… Read more »

rleeholder1
Noble Member
October 25, 2020 4:16 am
Reply to  gametv

I like the way you think gametv! Because I don’t get local channels on my TV, I have to wait for updates on ESPN and the like to see how the top teams are doing; hopefully, losing, as that is what USC needs to pave a way to the playoffs if we go undefeated. The key game for me to set the tone will be the first one as ASU has a very athletic Quarterback and Herm Edwards does a good job of coaching them up, unlike our HC who would be better served being a circus clown.

gametv
Noble Member
October 25, 2020 9:48 am
Reply to  rleeholder1

we have to assume the new coordinators are in charge and things will be different.

rleeholder1
Noble Member
October 26, 2020 6:03 am
Reply to  gametv

I sure hope that is the case.

LawyerJohn
Knighted Member
October 24, 2020 9:35 am

Aaaah, spring (errr, fall) and all is well and optimism runs high on the Western Front and at football practices. However, the sting of that Iowa game still lingers, so I will wait to see how this 2020 team fleshes out in real games.

I do recall Troy recruiting a sub-par offensive line, and the defense was suspect the past years. But hope (football-style) springs-and-rings eternal.

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
October 24, 2020 8:51 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I listened to Urban Meyer talk about Michigan St. and Rutgers this morning. What he brought up a lot was momentum. I realized USC has had a little momentum in the beginning of the GH coaching era. They soon lost it. With this new staff and Bohn taking a very active role it is starting to appear USC is gaining some momentum again, in spite of GH still leading the charge.

gametv
Noble Member
October 24, 2020 9:53 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

got to admit that i am getting a bit positive on the team this year. i want to see them piling it on against opponents this year. not just barely pulling out a close win, but truly dominating lesser Pac-12 teams on both sides of the ball, for a full game.

yes, it is annoying to hear helton talk. i realize that his ‘gee-schucks’ way of talking about everything just gets old. hearing harrell and especially orlando speak is a breath of fresh air. i really like orlando’s version of usc. just a straight-forward, no BS, hard-nosed guy.

PN4SC
Noble Member
October 24, 2020 12:03 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I can’t help but think about how bad SC has looked the first game of the season the last 4 years under Helton. That’s why the ASU game scares me. Hopefully you are right, and the Orlando/Harrell combo are changing the culture, and things truly will be different. I agree that OSU/Clemson/Bama are on a collision course to the playoff. If SC somehow snuck in there, we might regret it. SC would surely get smoked by any of those teams, and it would give Folt another reason to keep this clueless fool around. Right now, I would be thrilled if… Read more »

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
October 24, 2020 1:04 pm
Reply to  PN4SC

I am holding my opinions on whether USC has a shot or not until I see the product they put on the field. So far Clemson, Alabama and today OSU have shown they have the playoff potential. But man was I impressed the Wisconsin QB Mertz.

Trojan5
Knighted Member
October 24, 2020 12:40 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

LOL. I picture you having a gagging reaction every time you hear CH. I have the same reaction anytime I see or hear Skip Bayless.

Trojan5
Knighted Member
October 24, 2020 12:48 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Gag!!!!!!!!

Jamaica
Knighted Member
October 25, 2020 1:14 pm
Reply to  Steveg

I listened to him after the OSU-UN game when he said very clearly: Surprises will happen when one weapon offenses like Air Raid will pull off an upset. But when you play the better teams, you need a balanced offense to win.

Chris
Knighted Member
October 24, 2020 6:14 am

So many players subtly taking shots at previous years practices and coaches. Glad for a new attitude, excited to see it on the field.

UtahTrojan
Knighted Member
October 24, 2020 12:08 am

I really hope all of these reports really do lead to a more physical and prepared team on the field. I am just sorry for all of the talent that Helton has wasted since he became head coach because he wanted to hire friends and family and play favorites with the players.

gametv
Noble Member
October 24, 2020 1:55 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

the biggest danger is that SC has a good year or two and then Orlando and Harrell leave and Helton reverts right back to his good ole buddies inbred hires. by that time Bohn might have given up and just taking his paycheck.