USC Football News: Fall Camp, Day 1 Practice Notes (8/4)

Mar 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Clay Helton runs during spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Clay Helton runs during spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

USC football got back out onto the practice field Thursday with a long first day of Fall Camp in shorts and t-shirts, highlighted by improved depth.

USC football is back, and the team is deeper than ever.

That’s one of the first things head coach Clay Helton noted after the conclusion of his first fall camp practice as the head man at USC.

More from Reign of Troy

That’s not a full boat yet, Helton said, but it’s the closest USC has come since the scholarship reductions took their toll.

In a practical sense, that means more bodies out on the practice field.

“There’s a lot of kids out there right now,” Helton said. “There’s two or three-deep at every position. Hopefully it will make us a fresher team and there’s a lot of competition.”

Helton was quick to point out the defensive line in particular, which is much more stocked than it was in spring or even last season.

Three Stars of the Day

  1. Iman Marshall: The cornerback got the better of Darreus Rogers on a couple of occasions, defending two long attempts thrown towards the No. 1.
  2. Justin Davis: Though often overshadowed by the prospect of Ronald Jones, Davis still appears to have the starting running back job well in his grasp. He ran for a touchdown during the team period with a nice cut over the middle to turn away from the defense.
  3. Tyler Petite: The young tight end looked in his element, catching a long touchdown by using his size to beat out Olujawon Tucker.

From the Notebook

  • Helton praised the defense for playing faster and cleaner than they did in spring. However, on offense despite some nice deep plays, he was not happy with some slopiness that included fumbles and missed hand offs.
  • Helton reiterated that after the spring, Max Browne would have been the quarterback if they had a game the next week. He noted that both played well Thursday and protected the ball well.
  • USC’s first team offense on Day 1 included an offensive line of Chad Wheeler, Chris Brown, Toa Lobendahn, Viane Talamaivao and Zach Banner; Max Browne at quarterback; JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darreus Rogers and Steven Mitchell at receiver; Justin Davis at running back; and Taylor McNamara at tight end.
  • USC’s first team defense on Day 1 included Rasheem Green, Jacob Daniel and Malik Dorton on the defense line; Porter Gustin and Uchenna Nwosu at outside linebacker/defensive end; Quinton Powell and Michael Hutchings at linebacker; Adoree’ Jackson and Iman Marshall at cornerback; and Chris Hawkins and Marvell Tell at safety.
  • Cameron Smith and Lobendahn were back at practice but sat out 11-on-11 drills. Lobendahn said that he is 100% but they are limiting his reps for now as a caution.
  • Helton doesn’t anticipate any academic problems for this fall, but they won’t know for certain until summer classes end next week. For now, all of USC’s incoming players are ready to go.
  • The tight ends were a noticeable part of the offense, with Petite and Daniel Imatorbhebhe regularly used as passing options.
  • Freshman Connor Murphy practiced with the outside linebackers but looks big enough to play on the defensive line.
  • Ajene Harris played at cornerback wearing the No. 6 jersey.
  • Khaliel Rodgers played on the defensive line.
  • Freshman Jamel Cook, wearing the No. 21 jersey at safety, left practice early, while defensive lineman Noah Jefferson arrived late.
  • More number changes: Keyshawn Young is No. 83 instead of No. 17, Jordan Iosefa is No. 56 instead of No. 48, and Reuben Peters is No. 47 instead of No. 35.