USC football will have dress rehearsal Saturday to prepare for opener

USC football will have dress rehearsal Saturday to prepare for opener
USC Coach Steve Sarkisian will put the Trojans through their paces during a mock game on Saturday at the Coliseum. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

USC is preparing to complete a full week of dress rehearsal for next Saturday's football opener against Arkansas State at the Coliseum.

The Trojans will be in the Coliseum on Saturday for a mock game that is closed to the media.


The Trojans will prepare for the expected and the unexpected in the mock game, which will be "very procedural," Coach Steve Sarkisian said.

"There will be a lot of mock injuries, knock on wood, a lot of things of that nature that we're going to have to play through," he said. "[Backup quarterback] Max Browne is gonna get thrown in when he's not prepared to be thrown in.

"There will be a lot of those scenarios that take place so that when they do occur in the season, because things do happen, at least we've been though it before."

The Trojans were scheduled to spend Friday night in a hotel as part of the preparation, a school spokesman said.

USC, ranked eighth in the Associated Press media poll and 10th in the coaches' poll, plays its first three games at the Coliseum.

Sarkisian said the mock-game preparations would help establish a comfort level.

"Just guys feeling like, 'This is our routine. This is what we do. This is how we do it,'" Sarkisian said.

The Trojans will be off Sunday and Monday and then resume practice Tuesday.

In a rush

After starting five games at outside linebacker in 2014, junior Scott Felix hopes to make starting a full-time gig.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Felix had five tackles for losses and 1 1/2 sacks last season.

"I just got more disciplined as a player, and got a lot more coaching with drops [into coverage] and my technique," he said.

USC is suddenly awash in linebackers, so Felix could be part of a wave of rush ends. Junior Jabari Ruffin has returned from knee surgery that sidelined him in 2014, and heralded freshman Porter Gustin performed well during training camp.

"I have to get to the quarterback, but we also have a lot of drops too," Felix said. "That's something I've been focusing on a lot.


"I'm feeling pretty confident."

Safety net

Chris Hawkins' transition from cornerback to safety is apparently complete.

Hawkins, a third-year sophomore, started four games at cornerback last season before then-freshman Adoree' Jackson moved into the starting lineup. Hawkins intercepted a pass against Boston College.

Hawkins is part of a safety corps that includes junior Leon McQuay III, sophomore John Plattenburg, sophomore Matt Lopes and freshmen Marvell Tell III and Ykili Ross.

"Chris is very smart," secondary coach Keith Heyward said. "He makes all the checks and adjustments pretty good. Chris just needs to work on taking his shot when he has his opportunity to make a tackle. Just go be aggressive."

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