The Trojans’ very recent past was a bye week that gave the coaches a glimpse at the future.
Freshman safeties T.J. McDonald (right) and Jawanza Starling received a ton of invaluable reps, and it isn’t difficult to envision the pair starting side by side sometime soon.
The thing defensive coordinator and secondary coach Rocky Seto likes best about them? They’re quick studies.
“They learn their lessons,” Seto said late last week.
“They may be out of position (on one play), and then they get it, which is neat. They’ve taken, I don’t know, 70 reps the last couple days. Think about those 70 lessons.”
The coaching staff obviously was impressed from the start with McDonald, who became the second-string strong safety despite missing a large chunk of training camp because of a sprained ankle.
“Some guys come in a little more prepared than others,” said Seto, who compared McDonald to recent Trojan Kevin Ellison. It’s no coincidence that both come from football families, T.J. having played for father Tim McDonald, a former USC All-American and NFL All-Pro.
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