USC is prepared for season’s longest road trip

first_imgThe USC football team continued to prepare for its long road trip to Boston at practice on Wednesday. Head coach Steve Sarkisian called it a productive day and  praised the Trojans’ execution and energy.Step right up · Sophomore linebacker Michael Hutchings will start in the place of suspended senior captain Hayes Pullard in Saturday’s game at Boston College. Hutchings has four total tackles this season. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanNo Campfire SongsUSC will face another tough test on Saturday as they travel more than 3,000 miles to play the Boston College Eagles in an attempt to improve their record to 3-0. Though the team will be making quite a trek, Sarkisian stressed the importance of focusing more on the game than the location.“We [need to] keep doing things the way we do them regardless of who the opponent is or where we’re headed,” Sarkisian said. “Ultimately, it’s going to be about how we play Saturday night.”The Trojans understand that it is always a challenge to play on the road, but coming off a huge conference win at Stanford, the team is prepared to deal with adversity and rally around the challenges that a road game entails.“It wasn’t us sitting around a campfire and singing songs together,” Sarkisian said in reference to the Stanford trip. “It was hard. It was grueling. It was guys potentially wanting to tap out, coaches included … [But] you rely on the people around you to keep building you back up and [motivate you].”Sarkisian did not seem worried about a letdown following such an emotional victory against Stanford. He emphasized the focus and preparation of the team and hopes to see even more improvement as the week goes on.Fighting through the painAfter winning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Stanford, junior defensive end Leonard Williams is still dealing with an ankle injury that nearly kept him from playing last week and has limited his availability in practice. Though his injury might prove to be bothersome, the defensive captain is determined to play in Boston.“The reason I go out there and try to fight through all these games is because I want to have a good season this year … I want to take this team as far as possible,” Williams said. “I’d never want to sit on the sideline and watch them fight through a tough game knowing I can’t help out.”Williams made it clear that his ankle feels better than it did in the week of practice leading up to the Stanford game, and when asked if there was a chance that he might not be able to play on Saturday, Williams responded, “No, I’m going to play.”Williams should get the opportunity to repeat his dominant performance from Saturday against the Eagles as long as he remains healthy, and after Wednesday’s practice, he appears to be ready.“Obviously we got more work out of Leonard today than we did yesterday, which is a positive,” Sarkisian said. “Our goal is to go win the game. If Leonard is healthy enough to play, he’s going to play.”Time to step upDue to his ejection in the second half of the Stanford game, redshirt senior linebacker Hayes Pullard is required to sit out the first half of Saturday’s game. Stepping into his starting role will be sophomore Michael Hutchings, who seemed prepared and excited to contribute on the defensive end.“I feel like I’ve played well. I study Hayes’ every move,” Hutchings said. “I feel like I’m ready to take on this moment.”While Hutchings will not have to stop the struggling Eagles’ offense on his own, he will be called upon to be a leader for the defensive unit at the strong side inside linebacker position. Other members of the defensive unit have expressed their support for the inexperienced Antioch, California native.“The team lets him know that we count on him and we trust him,” Williams said. “We let him know that he can handle it.”last_img

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