USC Football News: Fall Camp, Day 2 Practice Notes (8/5)

Mar 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of Southern California Trojans spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of Southern California Trojans spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

USC football finished up the second day of fall camp with strong play from veterans and some early camp drama in the form of a fight.

Day 2 of USC football fall camp emphasized the importance of first and second downs with 11-on-11 drills aimed at creating the most ideal third down situations.

As a result, there were plenty of reps for the Trojan running backs and a slew of short passes to the likes of Steven Mitchell and USC’s other slot receivers who were given the chance to make plays in the flat and over the middle.

“It was neat to see the veterans come out and make some big plays,” said Helton, singling out Steven, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Adoree’ Jackson and Darreus Rodgers for their play over the first two days of camp.

Helton also heaped praise on the defensive line for making the most of the days in shirts and shorts, which are all about assignments.

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“[The defensive line] is playing fast assignment-wise,” Helton said. “I’m also seeing their pursuit to the ball.”

READ MORE: How USC’s Defense Fits Into Pendergast’s 5-2 Scheme

Helton praised Pendergast for emphasizing how important it is to get every man after the ball.

However, there is only so much you can see in the trenches without pads on. For that reason, Helton said he was particularly excited to see the Trojans get out on the practice field on Saturday with shoulder pads on for the first time.

Even more exciting? When USC finally takes the field in full uniform at the Coliseum on Monday.

“When live bullets fly that’s when you get to see how they react,” Helton said of the three scrimmages USC has planned for fall camp.

Three Stars of the Day

  1. Steven Mitchell: Mitchell was all over the field catching the ball and also taking several handoffs as a runner out of the backfield.
  2. Adoree’ Jackson: Jackson’s pick six of Max Browne was one of the highlights of practice.
  3. JuJu Smith-Schuster: Despite practicing with a sprained toe, Smith-Schuster supplied the other highligh of practice with an acrobatic, leaping grab on a deep pass from Sam Darnold. He came down over two defenders in the process.

From the Notebook

  • Injury Update: Jalen Greene has a tight hamstring
    • Keyshawn “Pie” Young has a shoulder concern.
    • Smith-Schuster has a slightly sprain toe which saw him limp off after practice.
    • Quinton Powell, meanwhile, limped off during practice with a cramp in his calf, probably due to dehydration.
    • Noah Jefferson sat out because of back pain.
    • Adoree’ Jackson, Cameron Smith and Toa Lobendahn were able to participate more fully in team drills though they are being monitored as each gets back into football shape.
  • Jackson and DeQuan Hampton got into a tussle during the 7-on-7 period, which caused Helton to gather the team together for up-downs and a lecture about family.
  • Though not as sloppy as the first day of camp, Day 2 featured its fair share of drops and fumbles. Trevon Sidney fumbled a handoff and had a drop during passing drills, as did fellow freshman Michael Pittman during 7-on-7. Taylor McNamara and Aca’Cedric Ware had their own drops in the flat, while Tyler Petite almost managed a tough catch in coverage but couldn’t hang on.
  • Both Sam Darnold and Max Browne showed off their running ability Friday, with Browne in particular showing a willingness to tuck and run. He had a long gain up the middle.
  • Jabari Ruffin had a sack on Darnold.
  • Mitchell, Sidney, and Velus Jones all took handoffs on sweeps during practice.

SEE ALSO: Justin Davis Talks About His Goals for 2016

  • The tight ends took a back seat in favor of more two running back sets.
  • Vavae Malepeai ran hard in increased action.
  • Darnold showed quick reaction time by stretching the the right to snag an errant snap out of the air. He was able to recover fast enough to put the ball in the hands of the running back without a hitch.
  • Hampton snagged a couple quick passes from Darnold in the flat during 7-on-7.
  • Cary Angeline had a catch over the middle during the same period.
  • Matt Fink looked calm and composed in the pocket but had trouble hitting his receivers downfield accurately.