Q&A: Daily Trojan sports editor previews USC rematch

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This week, The Daily Texan sports department collaborated with sports editor Sam Arslanian from The Daily Trojan to preview Saturday's game between Texas and USC.

Here’s a portion of the Texan and Trojans’ weekly podcast. The full recording can be found on The Daily Texan’s podcast channel on SoundCloud. 

The Daily Texan: The first look we got at USC was Week One against UNLV and similar to Texas’ performance against Tulsa. It wasn’t something that really jumped out as far as what you would expect from a USC team. We know they lost a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but what are the expectations moving forward?

The Daily Trojan: Like you said, this USC offense is very young. USC lost Sam Darnold and Ronald Jones among others. JT Daniels is young. He’s a true freshman. He’s reclassified. He should be in high school right now. The running back situation is really weird with that three-headed monster as head coach Clay Helton calls it, of Carr, M and Aca’Cedric Ware. It’s really interesting. The emphasis needs to be on getting that offense going. As we saw against Stanford, the defense held. If you hold Stanford, Bryce Love and K.J. Costello to 17 points and you don’t win a football game. That’s on the offense and playcalling.

Texan: What are the expectations for this game? Would you say, because these are two good defenses with struggles in play calling, where it’s a first team to 20 points wins, sort of like last year?

Trojan: I want to say it’s a shootout, but a shootout without scoring, if that makes sense. There’s going to be a lot of punting and there’s going to be a lot of field goals. At least on the USC end of things, finishing drives is something USC needs to figure out … that’s going to be a recurring issue for USC against defenses that are solid like Stanford, like Texas. I definitely think it could be a shootout, but I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of scoring.

Texan: What was the reaction of the fan base after last week’s game? There a lot of questions around the offense with JT Daniels. Were fans disappointed or did they expect this to be a difficult start? 

Trojan: I definitely sensed a lot of frustration. I think a lot of the blame was put on JT Daniels. He’s kind of been the face of what USC football could have and should have been right now. I don’t think he is to blame. He’s 18. I think he’s going to be a great quarterback. He’s going to do a lot of things. I think he needs to get comfortable first … give it a couple of games I think he will start to settle in.

Texan: What unit would you say is the weakest part of this offense, or at least which unit needs to make the most improvements to gain momentum throughout the season? 

Trojan: I think the wide receivers have to get better. It’s hard with a new quarterback. He’s been the starting quarterback for two or three weeks now. It’ll come, but dropped passes can’t keep happening. That was a huge issue against Stanford.