Helton praises special teams

first_imgUSC football took to Cromwell Field for a short practice on Wednesday, as the Trojans continue to enjoy their bye week and prepare for their matchup against Cal next Thursday.Super Special TeamsHead coach Clay Helton made a point to praise special teams coach John Baxter, whose kick and punt coverage units didn’t allow a single return yard at Arizona last week.“There were zero return yards on 12 kicks. That means your kickers are doing a heck of a job,” Helton said. “He’s a special guy.”Helton also credited Baxter for the progress redshirt junior kicker Matt Boermeester and redshirt sophomore punter Chris Tilbey have made this season, and Helton recalled the phone conversation he had with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh last offseason to recruit Baxter back to Troy.“I knew how valuable he was,” Helton said of Baxter at Michigan. “It was like stealing a good man away from another guy who you respect.”Baxter, in return, said it was the environment while working at USC that drew him back to his old stomping grounds (he previously spent four seasons from 2010-13 with the Trojans).“This is an incredible working environment, which is why I’m here,” he said. “Clay makes the job great.”Baxter added that Helton’s management of his coaching staff shows what makes him a good boss.“They let you do what you want to do, and they trust you to do it,” Baxter said. “But in exchange for that flexibility, you better return some production.”Activating Adoree’Helton also discussed the need to up junior cornerback Adoree’ Jackson’s involvement on offense, especially since opponents are now beginning to avoid the blazing return man on kickoffs and punts, capping his scoring potential.“I was teasing him the other day,” Helton laughed. “I said, ‘If they won’t kick it to you, we’ll need to hand it to you or throw it to you or something.’”Nevertheless, Helton said not to expect to see too much of Jackson on offense come next Thursday, as the cornerback will likely be very occupied with his defensive duties.“[Cal has] one of the top quarterbacks not only in our conference but in the country … so you have to be really careful about how much you use him, if at all,” Helton said.Bear HuntThe Trojans have begun scouting Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb, and junior safety Chris Hawkins was concerned about the senior transfer’s big-play ability.“He has pinpoint accuracy,” Hawkins said. “He’s No. 1 in the country in almost every QB [metric] there is.”Helton agreed, comparing Webb to previous Cal signal caller Jared Goff, who was taken No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2016 NFL Draft.“He has Jared’s arm strength and he can make any throw on the field,” Helton said. “What I’ve been impressed with is how quickly he gets the ball out.”Webb has run and thrown for a total of 22 touchdowns so far this fall, and the former Texas Tech Red Raider topped 300 passing yards in every game except Cal’s most recent contest: an overtime loss at Oregon State last week, when Webb departed with a hand injury.“He’s going to try to shred us,” Hawkins said. “So we have to be on all ten toes every play.”last_img read more

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SANTA MARIA QUOTES-SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019

first_imgJOCKEY QUOTESDRAYDEN VAN DYKE, LA FORCE, WINNER: “Mike and Paradise Woods stumbling at the start really didn’t change anything for me. I had a great outside post and she tends to like being in the clear, my horse. It did help a little, her stumbling, obviously because it made the trip more difficult for him and only helped us.“She’s just an honest trying filly, she’s very, very classy.“Paddy put the cheaters on her today, not blinkers but the firs, just a little on the side to change a little something, change it up and I think it helped. Like I said, she really brings it every time.“It’s very rewarding getting this win with her. She ran second to Unique Bella so many times so I really believe she deserves this.”MIKE SMITH, PARADISE WOODS, SECOND:  “She stumbled really bad, which she’s done in the past. I still thought I could win it at the quarter pole, but by the time I got out, the winner kicked away from us and we couldn’t get ’em.”TRAINER QUOTESPATRICK GALLAGHER, LA FORCE, WINNER: “The filly was in a good spot. The favorite stumbled at the start. I have to watch the replay, but we thought she (Paradise Woods) would be on the lead but it didn’t turn out that way, La Force put it together and we were very happy. Chuck gave instructions to the jockey when we were in the Paddock and that was it.     “We finally got the win today after knocking on the door so many times. We’re just glad to get there and win. Winning a graded race is a big help for a broodmare prospect so now, she’s done that. We’re really, really happy with her performance.“Yes, anything can happen in racing and something just happened. The favorite (Paradise Woods) was one-to-five and she didn’t probably have her best shot today. La Force has been running in these spots for quite a while now and she’s been close and then…sometimes you get disappointed and you really shouldn’t. If you’re running second or third in a graded stakes with a filly, you should always be very happy.”OWNER QUOTESCHARLES WINNER, LA FORCE, WINNER: “It is very rewarding, thank you to Paddy who did a great job, thank you to Drayden who always rides her beautifully. She tries hard every single time. Paddy’s done a great job with her and it all worked out today. Drayden told me she’d win!“I’m so happy for my partners Ro and Ward. It was a terrific race, and to beat Paradise Woods was really special because she is a special horse. We’re dreaming!”ROBERTA WILLIFORD, LA FORCE, WINNER: “We’re happy, anytime you win your happy. I’m proud of the filly, I’m proud of Paddy, I love my co-owner and my husband.“WARD WILLIFORD, LA FORCE, WINNER: I’m smiling this is a thrill, winning a graded stakes at Santa Anita is as good as it gets. I’m sure there’s a few things we can maybe do more of, but this was absolutely fabulous”NOTES: The winning owners are Roberta Williford, Ward Williford, and Charles Winner.German-bred La Force’s proud owners, from left, Charles Winner, Roberta and Ward Williford, savor victory after the Grade II $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes Saturday, June 1, 2019 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA. © BENOIT PHOTOlast_img read more

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