On this week’s “Inside the Trojans’ Huddle”, panelists Marc Kulkin, Chris Arledge, Erik McKinney, and Greg Katz preview training camp offensively, defensively, and special teams; debate the Pac-12 preseason poll; discuss the Malachi Nelson trip to Texas A&M; attendance predictions regarding each Coliseum home game, and viewer questions and panel answers.
In the first quarter of ITTH, the panel previews the Trojans offensive unit with respect to the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and offensive line. The panel gives a preseason letter grade to each unit. Did the quarterbacks’ unit get an “A” grade across the board or was there some dissension? There was consensus on the running backs grade, but it wasn’t an “A” grade. The wide receivers’ scrutiny had an interesting blend of grades, which was greatly influenced by the addition of Jordan Addison. How much of a factor was the addition of Addison in the grade evaluation. As for the tight ends, the panel was very stingy on its preseason grading with a lot of questions regarding this unit, and the offensive line also had some positive diversity of opinions. Which panelists gave this offensive line its highest and lowest evaluation grade?
In the second quarter, the panel previews the specific defensive units including the D-line, rush ends, inside and outside linebackers, and the secondary. The panel also gives their take on the Trojans punting and kicking situation. In the panel’s evaluation of the D-line, there were questions about the talent balance of the unit if you take All-Pac-12 tackle Tuli Tuipulotu out of the equation. There was also concern regarding the rush ends, and it showed in the grading process. Is the rush end group more about potential than their past play? As for the linebackers – inside and outside – there was a lot of attention paid to Shane Lee and incomer Eric Gentry, but what about the depth and did it affect the grading scale? As for the secondary, there was just two surefire starters agreed upon, and, yes, there were questions about secondary coach Donte Williams ability to coach them up, which may have influenced the preseason grade.
For the halftime segment, the panel debates the preseason Pac-12 media poll from first place to last place. There was healthy dialogue regarding the first four selections of the media poll, which in order were Utah, Oregon, USC, and UCLA. Who did the panel think was too high and who was too low in the seeding of the aforementioned schools? For a matter of record, which Pac-12 school came in last place agreement. Hint: It wasn’t Arizona.
In the third quarter, the panel is asked to give its opinions and perspectives on the shocking revelation that star 5-star senior quarterback Malachi Nelson (Los Alamitos High), a major USC commit for the class of 2023, shockingly visited Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, this past weekend. The panel discusses the ramifications and message that it is sending. For the most part, three of the panelists showed real concern regarding the Malachi Nelson development, but one panelist said there was too much concern for the moment. Who was that panelist?
In the fourth quarter, the panel is asked to give their predication – game-by-game – of Coliseum attendance for the Trojans’ seven home games. In rapid fire, each panelist gave their numbers prediction, so what game was a consensus sellout and which game was the lowest predicted attendance? One panelist went with the dreaded “announced attendance” answer more than once. Who was it? Kulkin? Arledge? McKinney? Katz?
And in Overtime, the panel answers viewer questions regarding future advanced tickets for the neutral site game between the Trojans and LSU in Las Vegas; the status of public viewing of training camp; and whether the limited time the media can watch practice greatly impairs fans from getting the most accurate information.