USC Now mailbag: Play calling, Damien Mama and tight ends

USC Now mailbag: Play calling, Damien Mama and tight ends
USC guard Damien Mama (51) keeps Trojans linebacker Scott Felix from getting to the quarterback during the annual spring game. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

You say Steve Sarkisian will get assistance from Clay Helton on calling offensive plays. Does it really matter, since a hurry up/no huddle team comes off a read?

— Victor Bulaich


Absolutely, it matters who calls plays!

Just because USC is attempting to run an up-tempo, no-huddle offense doesn't mean there isn't an offensive game plan and that play-calling becomes less of a priority than if it were a pro-style offense.

Sarkisian called the plays last season and he will continue with play-calling duties this season.

It is up to the quarterback to make the correct read and run the appropriate option on each play, but there is a play call and it matters who makes it.

How does Damien Mama look? Has he lost weight? Will he be pressing for a starting job?

— Manu Fanatiks, @ManuFanatiks

Mama, a sophomore, looks much more comfortable than he did at training camp a year ago and he even said this week that he has felt better than he did last season.

Mama is listed at 6 feet 4 and 355 pounds, down from the 370 pounds he was listed at last season.

He is on track to start at offensive guard.

When will we know about the Bryce Dixon and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick situations? Would Dixon be ready to go having been away from the team so long?

— Jeffrey Rivas, @jdr2157

USC announced Thursday that it would comply with a court order and that Dixon would be allowed to re-enroll in the university.

However, the university said Dixon would not be reinstated to the football team.

There doesn't appear to be a timetable for an announcement on Cope-Fitzpatrick, whose academic eligibility remains uncertain.


Summer courses concluded Aug. 11.

What candy do you think Sark ate at "Straight Outta Compton?"

— Max Meyer, @TheMaxMeyer

I don't think he ate any — it looks like he might be on a diet.

Questions or comments about USC? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag.