USC football’s second spring practice of the year featured three-way star Adoree’ Jackson seeing time exclusively on offense Thursday as the Trojans continue to work to find the balance in his position.
Jackson took the field in the cardinal jersey of an offensive player, running through drills with the receivers.
The plan is to feature the sophomore on offense and defense on alternating days, at least for the first two weeks of practice, Steve Sarkisian told reporters after practice.
Jackson started ten games at cornerback in 2014, while also contributing as a returner on special teams and receiver on offense. He caught three touchdown passes and ran back two kicks for scores doing triple duty for the Trojans.
With Jackson on the other side of the ball, redshirt sophomore Chris Hawkins picked up first team cornerback reps. Meanwhile receiver Steven Mitchell was given more opportunities outside of the slot because of Jackson’s presence.
Shoring Up Tight End
Bryce Dixon’s status remains very much up in the air after Thursday’s practice, which leaves USC with the task of replacing his presence, whether it be short term or long term.
Sarkisian offered some possibilities after practice, telling reporters that incoming defensive end Christian Rector could be moved to tight end to add another body at the position.
There’s also the matter of former walk-on Chris Willson, who missed last season with a foot injury.
The fifth-year senior has applied for a sixth year though he is still waiting for word from the NCAA with regards to his eligibility.
Having a veteran like Willson back would be a major help to the Trojans. Sarkisian noted, however, that because he has graduated, he could be granted that extra year but opt to transfer to finish his career somewhere else without having to sit out.
Sarkisian admitted that the depth problems at tight end took their toll today.
With just two players available at the position, the Trojans tested out more four wide receiver sets to give them some rest. As a result, there was some trial and error getting substitutions and positions right, which hurt the tempo of the offense.
With some more polish, the head coach said there is merit to getting all of USC’s speed on the field at the same time.
- Anthony Sarao will miss the remainder of spring camp because of a slight fracture in his foot. The decision was mostly precautionary but should have an interesting impact on the composition of the linebackers coming out of spring.
- JuJu Smith will not move to safety this spring or play two ways despite depth concerns at the position. Sarkisian said he is too good to not be on offense.
- Chris Hawkins and Jonathan Lockett are helping USC with depth at safety. Both came in as the second team safeties on day two of camp, according to Michael Lev of the Orange County Register.
- Soma Vainuku similarly contributed at running back while the Trojans remain thin at the position.
- Sarkisian praised John Plattenburg, who knocked the ball out of Steven Mitchell’s hands on the final play of practice to help the defense to a 3-2 win over the offense.
- USC will be in pads for the first time Saturday when they practice at the Coliseum.
- Veteran back up linebacker Charles Burks has decided to transfer. He has already graduated which means he will be eligible to play right away once he settles on a school.
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