Orlando’s Way; Jackson Switches

USC defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is happy to finally have a full spring camp

Then, after one practice last March, spring was canceled because of the pandemic. The loss of practice time was especially damaging to Orlando and the defense, he admits. When USC finally came back in the fall, that culture change had to be set on fast forward.

“Spring is all culture,” Orlando said. “Once that’s taken away from you, you get into fall camp, and you go halfway through the wintertime, and it’s like, ‘Are we going to train culture when we have a game in four weeks?’ So we take the first two weeks to do it, and it almost hurt us. You’re going through some things and teaching them how to be tough, but in the back of your head, you’re thinking, we have a game in two weeks.”

There’s no such hurry this spring. USC has 13 more practices, eight of which will be full contact, to fortify the culture he hoped to implement last offseason.

It’s rare, Orlando said, to get a second chance at laying that foundation.

“You only got one shot at it, when you come in as a new guy,” Orlando said. “If it’s not set in stone, it’s hard to fix. You can’t come back. You can’t do things soft and come back a year later and say, we’re going to harden up.”

That’s not to say that USC’s defense looked soft in its first season under Orlando’s tutelage. The Trojans allowed 39 fewer yards and 3.4 fewer points per game than in 2019. The defense forced the same amount of turnovers (16) in six games as it did in 14 the previous season.

It wasn’t perfect, but the seeds of a strong culture were planted. Now, with a full spring at his disposal, Orlando is hoping they’ll grow.

That process will be especially important for USC’s seven newcomers on defense. Orlando said he planned to first observe how they fit in with their teammates and acclimate to the culture already in place. Only after that point will he really be able to evaluate where they stand in terms of USC’s defense in the fall.

At least this year, he has the time to spare.

“That’s what spring football is all about,” Orlando said. “Fifteen days of just going at it and doing things that defy human nature.”

     From receiver to corner

No position was deeper on the roster than receiver when Joshua Jackson signed with USC ahead of the 2020 season. So when the coaching staff came to Jackson with an offer to switch to cornerback, the former Narbonne High star didn’t hesitate.

The transition has been surprisingly smooth so far.

“He’s just had natural movements for the position,” Orlando said. “When you get a guy that skillful with the football, that’s a huge advantage. When the ball goes up, he can reverse himself and go after the football, just as good as a receiver can.”

At 6 feet 1, Jackson also has the size that cornerbacks coach Donte Williams prefers in his cornerbacks. Chris Steele, also 6-1, is currently slated to start in the boundary corner role, while the field cornerback role vacated by Olaijah Griffin could be up for grabs this offseason.

With opportunity still available, Jackson could work his way into the rotation quickly. “I’m really, really excited about him,” Orlando said. “When Donte gets him a chance to show him the finer points of the position, he’s gonna be damn good.”

latimes.com

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Jamaica
Knighted Member
Jamaica (@jamaica)
April 2, 2021 10:43 pm

Size & speed. That is what USC lacks playing at a national championship level. The only physically-tough team USC plays on its schedule anymore is Notre Dame and can’t beat them. USC has backed away from playing the big boys and we all know why. Todd Orlando could be the DC USC needs to get our defense playing physical again if Donte Williams can continually supply him with top talent. But on offense, if Kedon gets hurt and/or the WRs get banged up, GH has no plan B to fall back on. His lack of experience shows he is suspect… Read more »

Chris
Diamond Member
Chris (@chris)
April 2, 2021 2:05 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

just read a little. Looks like communication stopped when Drevno left. Sounds like Clay McGuire wants his own guys, I would think that’s fairly common.

danielmcd1
Active Member
danielmcd1 (@danielmcd1)
April 2, 2021 6:52 am

I may be incorrect with this statement but I believe that it is extremely difficult to enter USC as a freshman. I think that if a student goes to a community college for a year and kicks butt academically, they may have a better chance to get into USC as a sophomore. If anyone can confirm or deny that let me know. Not too long ago that seemed to be true. But as we know life changes and so do the standards to academia.
When does Korey Freeman enroll at school, August?

Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
April 2, 2021 7:44 am
Reply to  danielmcd1

Not only are you correct now, it was that way in the 70s too. I had to attend Mt. SAC, managed to earn a 4.0 — and entered USC as a real Sophomore. The trick was to take classes at Mt. SAC that all transfered — so I was a real sophomore.

rleeholder1
Noble Member
rleeholder1 (@rleeholder1)
April 2, 2021 4:17 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I honestly don’t know if I would be able to get in these days Allen. Seems like a HS Student needs to have a very high GPA, be in Student Government in HS, be in sports in HS and write a convincing essay (if that is still an admissions requirement), just to be considered. I really feel for the lady in one of the FB groups that was crying over her daughter’s rejection even with a 4.4 GPA. I’m so old school that 4.0 was straight A’s in my day. How you do better than that is a mystery to… Read more »

Chris
Diamond Member
Chris (@chris)
April 2, 2021 6:58 am
Reply to  rleeholder1

My daughter applied to the school of dance. She had danced at a large convention and was asked to apply to the school. First she had to get into school like every student and then she could apply to the dance school. My daughter was a really good student but not exceptional, 3.8 GPA and 1300ish on SAT. Even with the invite it was a no go. Too many other students just as talented with better test scores. She even had a prof write her a letter of recommendation. She’s in a great school now, but yes, it’s really hard… Read more »

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
April 2, 2021 12:24 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

As a loyal alum, I have to ask is it now worth the cost? At $60K for tuition, plus room/board/books, can you get just as good education for less?

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
April 2, 2021 4:08 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

For me, as a grad student in 1981, it was worth it to me in so many ways. But in today’s dollars not sure I would do it if I had other options.

rleeholder1
Noble Member
rleeholder1 (@rleeholder1)
April 3, 2021 4:27 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I did a double major of Pre-Law and Business as an undergrad, then applied for a joint Juris Doctorate in Law and MBA program that had but a handful of students. The Law School and B-School accepted certain courses of the other school such that it shaved off a year of attendance if the JD and MBA were done separately. Even though I had a 3.8/4.0 undergrad GPA, the USC Law School did not accept me but the Graduate School of Business did and so I took two years and earned an MBA, emphasizing in Accounting and Finance. One of… Read more »

Steveg
Mt Rushmore
Steveg (@steveg)
April 1, 2021 7:32 pm

I love to read all the hype coming into spring ball, although you have realize it is all talk. With a full spring ball session our defense should shine again. It will have a different look and big plays will come from positions different from last season. Now, about that O line…

Last edited 15 days ago by Steveg
Terrific Tommy
Diamond Member
Terrific Tommy (@terrific-tommy)
April 2, 2021 7:46 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Plus, before the season starts, I predict we’ll be undefeated. 😎

RialtoTrojan
Noble Member
RialtoTrojan (@rialtotrojan)
April 1, 2021 6:45 pm

Is this the year we are the genius USC is paying for it will this be the last for clueless Clay? The man is the ultimate April fools joke, not funny and yet maybe he’s smart enough to stay out of the other coaches ‘ way. Every year I’m optimistic that we have the horses in the stable to beat any team, but then Helton does some incomprehensible thing during the game and the horses run wild. Discipline would go a long way toward fixing this problem. Orlando and company might be the fix to the stupid ball Helton likes… Read more »