Steve Sarkisian praised back up quarterback Max Browne for his performance at Sunday morning’s practice, calling it one of his best outings in training.
“We put him in with the ones some today just to get him a little different look at it, throwing to some different receivers,” Sarkisian said. “I thought he did well.”
Another back up, Jalen Greene, has been given increased opportunities in bowl prep practices, but Sarkisian said the results have been mixed.
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On the topic of young quarterbacks, Sarkisian expressed faith in the process when it comes to developing players at that position rather than rushing to play a freshman because so many other teams have had success with them.
“Ultimately I don’t want to put a player on the field until he is ready to be great,” Sarkisian said. “I don’t want him to just be good, I want him to be great.”
Sarkisian singled out a trio of young players who stood out on Sunday.
Rahshead Johnson, who recently made the switch from wide receiver to corner, is coming into his own, according to Sarkisian.
“His comfort level is obviously much better than what it was early on,” Sarkisian said.
Offensive lineman Chris Brown stood out to Sarkisian in the trenches.
“He’s another player who is really developing and starting to show some things on that front,” Sarkisian said.
Finally, the head coach was pleased with the efforts of outside linebacker Malik Dorton, who excelled in the scrimmage portion of practice.
The JuJu and Adoree’ Show
After missing Saturday’s practice with a rolled ankle, JuJu Smith returned to rave reviews from observers and coaches.
“You guys are just starting to understand the things we see from [JuJu] every day, not just on the field but in the building in the classroom,” Sarkisian told reporters. “That’s just him, when he’s going he goes full-steam ahead.”
Sarkisian continued his praise for Smith and freshman counterpart Adoree’ Jackson, particularly their battles in practice every day.
“I think JuJu purposely lines up over there so he and Adoree’ can battle every day,” Sarkisian said.
With the announcement of the College Football Playoff rankings Sunday, reporters asked Sarkisian if he projected his team to be in the mix for those top four spots in the years to come.
“I told the team, we’re practicing this morning, we’ve been practicing for three days, but next year I want to be playing this weekend,” Sarkisian answered. “That’s what we need to be doing, that’s the goal.”
Sark Didn’t Kiff
Two years ago, then-head coach Lane Kiffin got into a bit of trouble when he told reporters that he had not used his Coaches Poll vote to rank USC No. 1, though a look into his ballet proved he had.
That controversy sneaked its way into the post-practice media scrum when Sarkisian was asked about his take on the final rankings.
“Did you vote your team No. 1,” one reporter joked.
“No I didn’t do that,” Sarkisian said, then added: “Someday I will.”
For the record, Sarkisian’s top four was Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State, which is how the Playoff Committee ultimately voted.
Here’s Sarkisian’s full post-practice presser, via USC Athletics: