USC Fall Camp: Top Sights And Sounds From The Offense


The Trojans begin the truest grind in Fall Camp with less than three weeks before the season opener at Aloha Stadium. Time is of the essence to make some minor refinements on both sides of the ball before the opening kickoff.

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“We continue to teach our guys how to win in certain situations,” said Head Coach Lane Kiffin following Fall Camp practice on Saturday. “It all begins by holding the football, and not committing turnovers.”

The upcoming stretch of two-a-day practices that started on Saturday truly ingrains the importance of patience and perseverance throughout a long season on the gridiron.

Expectations of young and old rise from the ashes, looking for a fresh start following a disappointing 7-6 campaign, along with positive memories with the 10-year anniversary of the Trojans last BCS National Championship.

“Whatever happens with me moving forward, it is always about what is best for the team,” said quarterback Cody Kessler. “At the end of the day, we need to win games regardless of who plays quarterback.”

While the mission remains team oriented, the individual battles Kessler mentions will ultimately determine the success or failure of Fall Camp in the coming days. Injuries to key players like Silas Redd, Marqise Lee, Aundrey Walker and Ty Isaac on the offensive end have granted other players opportunities to shine.

“From last year to this year, they [the coaches] expect me to know multiple positions just so I can go in the game, in case the situation calls for my help,” said redshirt sophomore Jalen Cope Fitzpatrick.

Throughout the early portions of Fall Camp, certain players have stood out in our books for their outstanding performances on a day-in and day-out basis. Here are some of the best and brightest from the first week of Fall Camp for the USC Offense.

BEST PLAYER: Nelson Agholor

Entering the season as the Trojans second-best receiving option, Nelson Agholor has proven himself on the practice field day in and day out. After making a fantastic catch seemingly every day, Agholor has also shown the skill to snatch in even the simple play.

What is truly separating the Trojan sophomore early in Fall Camp stands in his ability to make people miss in space, most notably his elusive step-back move. Expect the wiry playmaker to make an immediate impact in the offense this season, thanks to increased attention of his counterpart Lee.

Biggest Moment- Scoring 70-yard touchdown in Fall Camp Scrimmage


Buck Allen has risen up the depth chart in a matter of days this Fall Camp, emerging as the Trojans’ most healthy–and thus reliable–back. Entering the year as a mere afterthought in the backfield, Allen is running with authority in the hole right up the Trojans depth chart.

“Buck is probably one of our most improved players throughout spring and early fall here,” said head coach Lane Kiffin. “Right now, we would feel very comfortable putting him in.” This is just one of the many compliments coming Allen’s way through an intensive period of run-oriented practices at camp.

Biggest Moment- Finishing rush by powering through four players of the Trojans’ defense.


Returning four starters from last season, the offensive line landed a prime and polished Chad Wheeler into its ranks this Fall Camp. The sophomore put in serious time in the weight room over summer and is starting to look like an immediate contributor on the offensive line.

Whether he starts or not, the 290-pound goliath can move like a mobile tackle while also playing with good leverage and pop versus powerful opponents. This combination of talents separate Wheeler as a multi-faceted contributor perfectly fit for the foundation of the offense, in the ground-and-pound O-line.

Most Endearing Comment- “He carries the weight well, he’s very athletic,” said Offensive Line Coach Kevin Summers. ”The added weight gives him more power and more punch when he gets off the ball.”

PLAYER TO WATCH: Xavier Grimble

Kiffin has stressed the importance of sharing the rock this upcoming season, and one of the biggest contributors in that department would be Xavier Grimble.

The redshirt junior tight end is a freakish athlete and probably one of the best raw talents in the Pac-12. His athleticism was trademarked all over practice on Saturday, recording two acrobatic catches that required a great deal of footwork, timing and vision that ultimately resulting in scores.

Mar 5, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tight end Xavier Grimble (86) catches a pass at spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What truly amazes the coaching staff during Fall Camp is the dedication towards route-running and timing that Grimble has exemplified. If not by shear fact that offense is bound to get them more involved, the Trojans leading tight end option is certainly due for a breakout campaign.

WILDCARD: Darreus Rogers

Talk about using the platform of Fall Camp to significantly rise your stock: Darreus Rogers has done that and then some. Now sitting at third on the USC Depth Chart, Rogers is capitalizing on his chances by constantly doing the little things correctly at the wide receiver position.

What makes Rogers intriguing is the fact he just began getting his feet wet with the Trojan quarterbacks in Spring Practice. Already having a strong connection with Max Wittek, the chemistry for the once left-for-lost weapon will only improve with repetitions this Fall.


While the quarterback competition has certainly been entertaining to watch unfold, a direct correlation between success and confidence could ensue for the losing gunslinger. While each of the quarterbacks have made statements about the team-first mentality, specifically towards playing time, at some point Kiffin will be forced to name a starter for the opening game of the season.

Throughout the first week, Kessler has emerged as the most composed quarterback of the bunch. The youngest quarterback, Max Browne, is playing mistake-free football, but still needs time to master the playbook and all that comes with D-I defenses. That leaves the rocket-armed Wittek, who sometimes throws himself into the fire by taking the deep shot instead of staying safe. All three options would help the Trojans chances moving forward, so it will be key to keep all forms of motivation intact.