Sarkisian addresses media after another win

first_imgComing off back-to-back convincing victories over Sun Belt conference teams that vaulted the USC Trojans up two spots in the rankings, on Monday coach Steve Sarkisian addressed the strong start and what lies ahead.USC outscored Arkansas State and Idaho State by a combined score of 114-15, but Sarkisian still saw some room for improvements in week 2.“I thought our younger players looked more comfortable in week 2,” Sarkisian said. “Up front offensively in the run game and in pass protection, we made strides, and that came from communicating. Our communication was vastly improved up front.”On defense, Sarkisian also thought his team was “much better” against Idaho State.“We held Idaho to four yards per play, which is a really good number for us,” he said. “We were really good on third down again, getting off the field on defense.”Sarkisian lauded the play of running backs Justin Davis, Ronald Jones II and Tre Madden, and also singled out wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.“In week 1, JuJu tried too hard,” Sarkisian said. “We tried to get him to calm down … and he did that. He blocked all night long. He cleared out routes for other guys. He played on special teams. If he can replicate his effort and energy, that guy’s poised for a great season.”The focus now shifts to Stanford, which figures to be USC’s first true test against      Pac-12 competition. Sarkisian noted disciplined as the key to the game.“Stanford’s a very disciplined defense,” he said. “They don’t blow coverages. They don’t give up the big play. Cody [Kessler’s] going to have to remain discipline and continue to protect the football.”Sarkisian also pointed out the challenge of facing a dynamic and adaptable team in the Cardinal.“If you allow [Stanford] to line up with eight offensive linemen on the field, run the ball and get four to five yards at a time, they’ll stay in it,” Sarkisian said. “If you allow them to open their sets up and play pitch and catch and get six to seven yards in the quick game, they’ll do that. That’s the sign of a good coaching staff.”Stanford is led by redshirt senior quarterback Kevin Hogan, who the Trojans will try to stop from gaining momentum.“When he’s comfortable in the pocket and he strings together a few passes in a row, he can get hot,” Sarkisian said. “It’s going to be critical for us to try to make him as uncomfortable as we can.”Despite the improved quality of their opponent, Sarkisian wanted the team’s focus to remain on themselves.“We just need to stick to our process,” he said. “Focus on us and what we need to do to get ourselves prepared to play.”last_img

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