first_imgHeisman candidate · Dynamic sophomore cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is aiming to become the first defensive back to win the Heisman Trophy since Charles Woodson won the award back in 1997. – Nick Entin | Daily TrojanIt was another intense and physical practice for the Trojans Wednesday morning. Based on their play, both coaches and players are expecting a great performance on Saturday against Arkansas State.Head coach Steve Sarkisian was pleased with the scout team’s work throughout practice.“Our scout team guys make it hard,” Sarkisian said. “That’s how you get good.”The team this year will have a total of 10 graduate students on the roster, with seven of them as starters. Sarkisian said the situation is similar to what the Stanford team had a few years ago  and the Boston College team had last year. He sees this as beneficial for the team this year.“We’ve got guys that have been through it,” Sarkisian said. “They are mature enough to handle adversity.”The team will come with some added maturity, but the freshmen are making just as big of an impact. Sarkisian said overall he is impressed with the way the freshmen have been playing. Quarterback Sam Darnold, outside linebacker and tight end Porter Gustin, defensive lineman Rasheem Green and offensive tackle Chuma Edoga  are some of the players that have impressed Sarkisian early this fall.“We’ll find out a lot about these guys,” Sarkisian said. “And the guys comfortable enough to go in and play.”Sarkisian talked a bit about why he’s impressed with Edoga in that he’s “a little unassuming but extremely athletic.” He said Edoga will play Saturday night.“He’s a physical, nasty guy,” Sarkisian said. “He really likes to finish guys.”Green, who suffered a knee injury, has been cleared to play Saturday. Sarkisian is impressed with his athletic ability, long arms and explosiveness.“He’s made great progress coming off the injury,” Sarkisian said. “He’s looked really good.”Redshirt senior tailback Tre Madden will finally get to see the field on Saturday once again after missing two of his past three seasons thanks to turf toe, a knee injury and hamstring injuries. In his time playing this fall, Madden has looked pretty good. Sarkisian was reminded of Madden’s explosiveness, cutting ability, acceleration and natural pass catching ability.Sarkisian attributes Madden’s high football IQ to his time as a quarterback in high school and playing on both sides of the ball at USC. He even went on to say that Madden’s football IQ “is about as high as any running back I’ve been around.”“I expect him to play really, really well Saturday night,” Sarkisian said. “I expect him to be our work horse.”Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox  talked about the fluidity with the safety position and said there are plenty of options on the table for the season. For his defense in general, Wilcox is looking to give a variety of guys playing time in order to create as many opportunities as he can for his players that will help the team win as much as possible.“More guys are going to play, no doubt,” Wilcox said. “It gets them really excited.”Similar to last year, sophomore three-way player Adoree’ Jackson is looking to play on both sides of the ball. Both Wilcox and Sarkisian agreed Jackson is a solid athlete.Wilcox even joked about how since Jackson plays on both sides of the ball, he can almost be unstoppable at times — especially on offense.“He’s about the only guy that covers himself,” Wilcox said. “He helps our team in a lot of different ways.”Ideally, Wilcox would like to see Jackson get a lot of playing time on defense, but he knows that Sarkisian is doing what’s best for the team to win.Sarkisian said that he believes Jackson has a high standard of performance because it’s what he’s always known. With Jackson’s natural ability, most times he makes what he does look easy.At one point in practice on Wednesday, it looked as if Jackson might have been a bit frustrated that he missed a catch. Sarkisian pulled him aside really quick.“I’m not worried about it,” Sarkisian told Jackson. “You’re going to catch it on Saturday.”Sarkisian recalled that Jackson laughed a bit about his comment.“No, I’m serious you will,” Sarkisian said. “We’re going to call it and you’ll catch it.”Jackson joked that if he was frustrated about anything, it’s probably because he just got a little dirty.“I’m always happy,” Jackson said. “That’s just who I am.”From the look of practice, Sarkisian is expecting great plays from all of his players on Saturday and he is pleased with the depth being developed on the roster.The Trojans will face the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Saturday at the Coliseum at 8 p.m. to kick off their 2015 campaign.last_img

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