USC quarterback Sam Darnold spoke with Campus Insiders about JuJu Smith-Schuster and what makes his go-to target so special.
For the first three weeks of the season, Clay Helton’s Trojans did not play well.
They were smacked in the mouth by Alabama, 52-6. They fell to Stanford on the road, 27-10. And their only win within those first three weeks was at home against Utah State, 45-7.
Then, redshirt freshman Sam Darnold took over for Max Browne as USC’s starting quarterback, and everything turned around. After a Week 4 loss to Utah, the Trojans flicked a switch and have since reeled off six consecutive victories.
The team’s turnaround wasn’t the only bounce-back performance we’ve seen in Los Angeles this season. Upon Darnold taking the starting job, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster began playing like the potential first-round pick he was touted as going into this season.
In the three games with Browne at quarterback, Smith-Schuster totaled 11 catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
With Darnold under center, Smith-Schuster has pulled down 40 catches for 583 yards and six touchdowns. He has also posted 100-plus receiving yards in three straight games.
Darnold has been extremely impressed by his go-to receiver and expressed that recently when he spoke with Campus Insiders.
“JuJu is a great athlete, obviously. He’s a great talent, but what I think makes him special is the time he puts into his game off the field that a lot of people don’t see. He’s a great student, a great student of the game as well. He spends a lot of time in the film room, in the weight room, and I think that really credits to his success. He also [has] a great personality, as you know, a great personality off the field, which makes him really fun to watch on TV.”
Of course, much of the credit goes to Coach Helton for having the wherewithal to make the move to Darnold that early in the season.
The USC quarterback said Helton has united the team, and everyone is operating in perfect unison because they’re playing for each other.
“Its just buying into the process, really. A lot of our guys have that mindset of just trusting one another, trusting the coaches, and trusting in the process. Everyone as a whole [is] just playing together, not only as a separate defense, separate offense, separate special teams, but [we’re] buying in as a whole. [It’s] really the main thing attributes the most to our success.”