USC Football Practice Notes: Trojans Emphasize Deep Ball


USC football made it rain during practice as the offense torched the defense on long balls through the air in the final Tuesday session of the spring at Cromwell Field.

Adoree’ Jackson took one pass 90 yards for a touchdown while Steven Mitchell got behind the defense by some margin on another long scoring lob, according to Rich Hammond of the OC Register.

“The biggest thing that jumped out today was the offense’s ability to create explosive plays,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice. “It has been a point of emphasis for the last couple practices.”

Sarkisian admitted to taking some of deceased Raiders owner Al Davis’ advice when it comes to throwing deep. Davis wanted his teams to throw the ball deep at least two times a quarter.

More from Reign of Troy

The Trojans were middle of the road in the Pac-12 last year when it came to completing long passes. USC tallied 21 completions of more than 30 yards.

On the other side of the ball, USC was among the best teams in the conference at preventing long balls, giving up just 12 passes of more than 30 yards, second only to Stanford.

Sarkisian acknowledged that it was not the best performance for his defense this spring, but he praised their ability to bounce back and win the finish challenge.

“We’re going to have games where one side of the ball performs better than the other,” Sarkisian said he told the team. “But at the end of it we’re going to be counting on our defense to get that critical stop at the end to go win the game and that’s exactly what happened today.”

He also noted that Jackson’s presence on defense Thursday should tighten things up.

Connelly Rakes In Praise

Zach Banner called new offensive line coach Bob Connelly the best position coach he has had as a Trojan on Saturday, a sentiment which was echoed by Cody Kessler after Tuesday’s practice.

Connelly was hired back in February with underwhelming response. The journeyman line coach boasts an 18-year career, but few standout achievements.

This spring, he seems to have dampened concerns by hitting it off with his players.

More News and Notes:

  • Sarkisian has yet to decide on the details of Jackson’s involvement for Saturday’s Spring Game.
  • Tre Madden got contact reps for the first time this spring, according to Ryan Abraham of
  • John Plattenburg was limited with an ankle injury and Claude Pelon missed practice to focus on academics.
  • Saturday’s format will be similar to last year’s with segments designed to emphasize specific aspects of play as opposed to a live game. Sarkisian said he would like to play a full game but the team is not ready for that yet.
  • Sarkisian praised Ricky Town’s growth this spring, but acknowledged it has been difficult for him as a freshman with limited reps.

You can watch Sarkisian’s full presser