Ed Orgeron conference call highlights

November, 10, 2013
11/10/13
10:04
PM PT
Some selected quotes from USC head coach Ed Orgeron's Sunday night conference call following the Trojans' 62-28 victory over California.

Orgeron's opening statement:

"After watching the film, I'm very excited about a lot of things that happened in that game versus Cal. We played very well as a team going on the road again ... putting up 62 points. There were some really, really good things on the film."

[+] EnlargeLeonard Williams
Ric Tapia/Icon SMISophomore defensive end Leonard Williams is expected to return to action Saturday against Stanford.
On the status of tailback Silas Redd and defensive end Leonard Williams:

"Silas Redd for [this weekend's] game is questionable -- knee. We expect to get Leonard Williams back sometime this week, and we expect him to play on Saturday."

On the style of play that has marked the Trojans' recent contests with Stanford, a team that has defeated USC five out of the last six times the programs have met:

"Obviously it's a very physical football game. I just watched last year's game, and there were some things that we did really well, but we did not make the play when we had to. They were tight games, and they made the plays when they had to, and we didn't. It's the type of game where we have to play 60 minutes. They're so well coached that if you make a mistake, they'll score a touchdown on you. If you miss a tackle, they'll score a touchdown on you. You just have to stay in there and fight with them. You have to fight with them toe-to-toe every play. Just take one play at a time, and you need a complete game. Their defensive line is very, very well coached ... they get after you, they make a lot of plays ... a lot of sacks. They're physical. They have a great kickoff returner ... they're great on special teams. They have a very physical run game. They're just a well-rounded football team."

On the fact that ESPN's College GameDay will be at the Coliseum this Saturday, and whether that, as well as the excitement surrounding the game in general, adds anything extra to the matchup for the team:

"We're going to prepare the same as we have for the last five weeks. From that standpoint, we need to stick to the plan ... the plan that has been working for us. On the outside, it's good for the University; it's great for recruiting; it's great for the crowd ... hopefully there's going to be a big crowd there, and really it's why you come to USC as a football player. It's why you come to coach here ... to play in these types of games, and it should be expected."

On what USC fullback Soma Vainuku brings to the fold in terms of his contribution on special teams, and in particular, on kickoff coverage:

"He sets the tone on the kickoff. He set the tone at Oregon State. He made a tremendous tackle [against California]. We studied the film this morning, and people have to change their blocking schemes in order to attack Soma on the kickoff. He's such a force. He's 260 pounds, [and] he's running down there like a sleek tailback. He's tough. He just does a lot for us. He's a great young man. He's a difference-maker."

[+] EnlargeAndre Heidari
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesAfter a stellar freshman season in 2011, Andre Heidari has struggled the last two years.
On whether the play of place kicker Andre Heidari -- who missed a PAT attempt as well as his lone field goal attempt versus California -- is a concern right now:

"It's always a concern when we don't make the kicks that we're supposed to. We've been inconsistent in that area. It will be addressed again this week. We're going to go back to the chalkboard, per se, in practice. I talked to Coach [John] Baxter, and we have to fix some things. We have to make sure he's right."

On whether Orgeron and Baxter have discussed opening up the competition for Heidari's kicking job, as they did before the Utah game:

"No, we have not thought about opening the competition. I talked to Coach Baxter today, [and] he felt that there's some things that he needs to fix on Andre. We'll look at it this week. He's still our starter, but it is a concern."

On the performance of the offensive line, a unit that had Kevin Graf back at right tackle last weekend after he missed the Oregon State game with an ankle injury:

"We went back to Graf at right tackle, and it seemed like it worked out well. Those guys seemed to perform well together. Moving Max [Tuerk] back to his original [left guard] position, I think those guys performed well. It was a positive. We didn't want Graf to get hurt, but in case someone gets hurt, then we can mix and match our guys and play well there."

On the areas in which the team has made the biggest strides of late:

"I think the energy, playing as a team, the offensive line, the run game ... the turnover ratio -- we're plus-six in the last five games -- which is a big key for us. The special teams have made some tremendous plays. I think those are our biggest improvements. I just think we're playing as a complete team."

On whether Orgeron has considered utilizing freshman safety Su'a Cravens, who also excelled on offense on the high school level, as a two-way player:

"He would probably be a great two-way player. We have not discussed that. [With] our situation we feel that we can't move a lot of people around, and you know, him just being a freshman -- he does play the nickel, and he plays the safety -- so we think he has enough on his plate. I would leave that open to discussion, and I wouldn't mind him doing that in the near future if he's able to do it. I just don't think we can afford to do it right now."

Johnny Curren

WeAreSC, Reporter

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