Backed by former Desert Mountain star Kedon Slovis at quarterback for the USC Trojans, Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin knows his team will have their hands full when the 20th-ranked Trojans march into Tucson this Saturday.
Despite being outplayed for much of last Saturday’s USC win over Arizona State, Slovis still found a way to get the job done, throwing two back-breaking touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to down the Devils in the LA Coliseum in week one. One of the throws included the game-winning 21-yard touchdown that threaded the needle between two ASU defenders.
Now 1-0 coming to Tucson, Sumlin is aware of everything that the USC offense brings to the table.
“They got a young quarterback that is playing on a high level. They have four receivers that are all different, but all dangerous,” Sumlin said. “…They’ve got weapons all over the field and three different running backs that are all different between 200 and 230, and a line that’s returning a bunch of guys…This is a veteran team that has already played in a close game, so they should have some confidence. But what do you expect from USC? They’ve got those kind of guys.”
On the other side of the ball, Sumlin noted his familiarity with Trojan defensive coordinator Todd Orlando as well. Orlando dialed up pressure on Sun Devil sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels last week, and he expects more of the same to be thrown at Wildcat sophomore signal-caller Grant Gunnell. The USC defensive unit features eight returning starters from last year.
“He’s going to be extremely aggressive,” said Sumlin of Orlando. “Every play it’s a zone blitz or it’s four from a side. He’s not going to sit there. What we saw at the end of the game Saturday (against ASU) is that…it’s still going to be a pressure defense. Whether it’s zone pressure or man pressure, that’s who he is…Their defense, they’ve got veteran players and a veteran defensive coordinator that’s going to bring it. They faced a young quarterback last week and brought it. So they have another young one this week. I don’t think that’s going to change for him.”
After not being able to play last week due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Utah, the Wildcats will finally look to take the field this Saturday. Kickoff against Todd Helton’s USC Trojans is set for 1:30 p.m. local time on Fox.