“It’s My Time To Shine”

Ryan Kartje (LA Times)  —  As Connor Murphy saw it, sitting out was a business decision. He wasn’t seeing much playing time along USC’s defensive line. Just a few snaps here and there, most of them at the end of the game.

So, last October, coaches raised the idea of Murphy redshirting for the remainder of his junior season. Under new NCAA rules, which allowed players to redshirt even after appearing in four games, Murphy could shut down for the season and still recoup a year of eligibility.

Well into his USC career, Murphy didn’t love the idea at first. But after further consideration, Murphy began to understand the benefits of such a decision.

“We had a stud in Porter Gustin here and Christian Rector (below) on the other side,” Murphy said. “I just kind of had to bide my time last year, fit underneath those guys’ wings, get all the coaching I can, and have a good offseason.”

This week, that extra time should come in handy. The Trojans defense could be without Rector for Saturday’s game against Brigham Young, after the senior defensive end hurt his ankle in the fourth quarter against Stanford last week.

On Thursday, Rector was able to practice in limited fashion, and he will travel with the team to Provo on Friday. But coach Clay Helton acknowledged his status was “questionable at best” beyond that.

Regardless of whether the senior captain is in the lineup, Murphy had already worked his way into USC’s rotation up front. A week ago, he played a career-high 25 snaps. But without Rector, who sits ahead of him on the depth chart, Murphy is expected to play an even more significant role.

That opportunity isn’t lost on the redshirt junior.

“It’s my time to shine,” Murphy said. “I’m not a rookie anymore. This is my fourth year. I know this defense in and out, and it’s time to step up.”

Since its inception, Helton has made his support for the new redshirt rules known. Last season, Helton had his staff put together a database to monitor snaps and games played, for the purpose of picking out possible redshirt options.

The Trojans took full advantage of the rule as a result, as they retained eligibility for a handful of future rotation players such as Murphy and fellow defensive end Caleb Tremblay, who will also rotate against BYU. For players like them, Helton said, “it’s a great situation.”

“I think it’s the best rule that’s been in college football in my 25 years,” Helton said.

Murphy concurs. Now, with an extra season of eligibility at his disposal, he’s planning to start work on his master’s degree.

“It sucked that I had to repeat my junior year,” Murphy said, “but it was a good business decision. It’s what had to be done.”

Thinning receiver corps

USC lost one of its talented young wideouts this week, when sophomore Devon Williams entered the NCAA transfer portal. But when asked about Williams’ decision on Thursday, Helton didn’t seem all that concerned about depth at the position.

“We still have eight receivers that can go at any point in time,” Helton said. “All have played, all have had reps. We’re in a good position, a really good position.”

Helton didn’t offer any details on Williams’ departure other than to reiterate more than once that Williams was a “great kid, good player,” and that he’d “wish him nothing but the best.”

In his place, USC will count more on John Jackson or Velus Jones in that position. But another freshman wideout likely won’t factor in much.

Kyle Ford was cleared to return to practice last week, but his recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury is ongoing. Helton said the plan is to hopefully have Ford ready to return for the final four games of the season, in order to maintain his ability to redshirt.

“But he’s not near yet to be ready to play,” Helton said of Ford. “We’re making an investment in him.”

Etc.

Sophomore defensive back Chase Williams (shoulder) practiced Thursday and is expected to play against BYU. … Redshirt freshman running back Markese Stepp is dealing with a calf injury and will be a “game-time decision”. … Injured quarterback JT Daniels will not travel to BYU, as his surgery date for a torn ACL nears.

latimes.com

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Jamaica
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This will be USC’s DBs first big test with BYU’s passing game. And until they can prove themselves against the pass, I see the score close at the end. This will also be USC’s 1st away game in a tough place to play in Provo. But Kedon has made a believer out of me and I feel he will lead the team like last week in moving the ball on offense. USC 45 BYU 41 with BYU making it close at the end.

PN4SC
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Two years ago, we played a sluggish game vs. Western Michigan, then boat raced a good Stanford team. I thought SC was a real playoff contender.It was just fools gold though, as we all know how that season played.
I need to see more consistency from this team, and have real doubts about Helton’s ability not to interject himself and really screw up a good thing.
The game vs. BYU should tell us a lot about where this team is really headed. I still have some doubts

Steveg
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USC 42 BYU 10 defense shows maturity and a kick ass attitude. Slovis proves he is for real. JT who?

TrojanMPA90
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I’m going to say the score tomorrow will be USC 35 BYU 17.

Trojan5
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With JT going down for the season and Sedon ascending as the starter there has been a lot of chatter about Bryce Young. Anyone have any idea of what his status is? What is the conventional wisdom? Is he likely to sign with USC?

Steveg
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USC has all their eggs in one basket, Bryce Young. They only offered one other qb, from St John bosco and he committed to Clemson. If Young goes elsewhere, I can’t see how Helton explains not having offers out to others, and most of the 4* are committed already.

Paul_Muad_dib
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I feel like someone could walk up and punch Helton below the belt and Helton would smile, give em a hug and wish him a happy life.

Chris
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This weeks is going to be interesting for GH and the offense. From the little I’ve watched BYU and read, they like to play zone and keep everything in front of them. They give up more on he ground to take away anything over the top. Maybe Slovis doesn’t go all air raid, and we run it 50 times? Or maybe we just throw it around anyway and say stop it if you can. Either way, we are on a roll that BYU won’t stop.

USC 38 BYU 20

TrojanRJJ
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I have to admit that Clancy has surprised me. He is clearly playing more players. And, it seems that he has simplified his system. He is now running a recognizable base defense – the 4-2-5. I do not understand it. But, at least it is one base set and the kids seem to understand it. He is now running a base D with two DTs and two DEs, which I do not recall him running before. this new set has allowed kids to play easy to understand positions, like DE. IN the past, his DEs were a combo of a… Read more »

LawyerJohn
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What is needed to beat BYU:

The altitude sucks, as in ‘sucks your breath away.’ Must overcome it
Slovis must prove he is not a one-time wonder
Helton instills confidence in his boys by reminding them he still has a 4-year contract
Must remember that BYU will be easier than next week’s real Utah, Utah
Finally, don’t let the Mormons talk you into giving up football for a 2-year mission

RialtoTrojan
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Can’t they do their mission on a stationary 10 speed? I have heard that they don’t want to be called Mormons anymore. I think they dropped the second M.

ATL D.D.S.
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I’m a good Catholic boy and no fan of Mormon doctrine, but let’s be civil to our Mormon brothers, RT. There has always been a sizable contingent of SC students that are Mormon. While Mormons have a good sense of humor (they have embraced the comedic musical “Book of Mormon” and even advertise in the Playbill when there is a showing of B of M), perhaps the “dropping the second M” reference may go too far. I just want to keep our one game streak of good karma going!

Fight on, RT.

thekatman
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My wife and I saw The Book of Mormon at The Pantages Theater a few weeks back. We almost left at intermission but decided to watch the second act. Should’ve left. It was insulting to Mormons and not in a good way. I don’t recommend giving any credence or ticket dollars to a production like that.

USCJojo
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That sounds like something scott wolf would write.