USC’s defense last season ranked 56th nationally and 10th in the SEC allowing 381 yards per game. As they prepare for their season opener in two weeks, players on the defense who spoke with the media Friday in Zoom sessions expressed optimism that the defense will be much better this season. Safety RJ Roderick went so far as to call the group a “championship” defense. Having a healthy Ernest Jones at linebacker will be a big plus. He returned to practice this week following an appendectomy.