USC Football News: Fall Camp, Day 10 Practice Notes (8/15)

USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

USC football was back in the Coliseum for Day 10 of Fall Camp, with a game-like atmosphere for the 75-play scrimmage.

Clay Helton referred to Day 10 of USC football Fall Camp as “reality day.”

It was a chance for the players and coaches to experience a game-type atmposphere, with the training wheels off.

“You come in the Coliseum, you make all the coaches get off the field, you put them in the press box on their headsets,” Helton said after practice. “Make them play it like a real life game and see who really reacts in this atmosphere and performs.”

Results were mixed on the day, with standout performances from the likes of Deontay Burnett and Ronald Jones II tempered by a three-interception day for Max Browne.

More from Reign of Troy

There were also referees to deal with, who popped the defense for a trio of pass interference flags and the offense for illegal man downfield twice, one negating a touchdown.

Helton also referred to missed assignments by young players while quarterback Sam Darnold spoke about players not knowing where they were supposed to be without coaches around to give them a hand.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, that’s why this day is important and this week is important at really identifying our two-deep prior to moving forward,” said Helton.

All of that is part of the process for the head coach, who is in the process of figuring out which players he can count on.

“There’s about half of them that are ready and half of them need a lot of work.”

Three Stars of the Day

  1. Deontay Burnett: Burnett caught a touchdown and made himself available for passes all over the field. Helton complimented his play, which was like a veteran despite the fact he is only a sophomore.
  2. Ronald Jones: Helton also praised the sophomore running back for hitting the hole hard and intelligently, while increasing his all-around ability as a complete back. He continues to be the most effective running back in general and caught a swing pass with ease for a nice gain.
  3. Don Hill: The back up defensive end had two consecutive plays where he got into the backfield and stuffed Aca’Cedric Ware for a loss or no gain.

From the Notebook

  • Injury Update:
    • There were no new injuries despite the fact did a 75 plays of live scrimmaging.
    • Defensive lineman Noah Jefferson had an epidural a few days ago and is now back in pads and pain free. However, Helton said he still needs to rebuild his strenght, so he will be going through drills with the coaches individually before he gets back to full action.
    • Linebacker Quinton Powell, defensive lineman Kevin Scott, cornerback Yoofi Quansah and safety Jamel Cook didn’t participate.
    • Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is still being eased back into action.
    • Defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu isn’t injured, but he is dealing with blisters on his feet while he breaks in new shoes. As a result, the coaches took the opportunity to get Khaliel Rodgers, who missed several practices with a concussion early in camp, extra reps while resting the Utah transfer.
  • Browne’s three interceptions were a combination of bad luck, good defense and mistakes all around. The first was aimed for Steven Mitchell, but the receiver had the ball go through his hands and into the waiting arms of Ykili Ross. On the second, Adoree’ Jackson jumped a route which Browne underthrew. The third, which came on a two-point conversion attempt, happened when Browne rocketed a throw Ronald Jones didn’t seem prepared for. The ball bounced off the running backs’ chest and Leon McQuay caught it behind him.
  • Cornerback Iman Marshall made a great play breaking up a deep attempt by Sam Darnold, however, the refs flagged him for pass interference. It was a harsh decision.
  • Tight end Tyler Petite made a nice adjustment to catch a Darnold pass which was slightly behind him over the middle of the field.
  • Defensive end Uchenna Nwosu sacked Darnold.
  • Darnold rolled out to avoid pressure on one play and had the opportunity to hit a wide open Steven Mitchell for a big gain but underthrew it across his body. He was audibly upset with himself.
  • Ross and McQuay broke up another pass downfield intended for Mitchell and got called for pass interference.
  • Jackson looked dangerous on his one kick return but Mitchell muffed his attempt, recovering it quickly enough to salvage a short return.
  • Browne found Burnett in the endzone from about 25 yards out but the play was wiped out by a flag for illegal man downfield.
  • On the same sequence, Jones had his shoe come partially off. Unable to tuck his foot back into his shoe before the next play, Jones ran up the middle for decent gain with half a shoe on.
  • Ross defended a pass intended for Burnett from Browne in the corner of the endzone but got flagged for pass interference. It might have been harsh, but Ross didn’t get his head turned around.
  • Browne found fullback Reuben Peters, who was uncovered, for a short touchdown. The subsequent two-point conversion was his final interception.
  • Matt Fink tossed a touchdown to Jalen Green in the right corner of the endzone. Green beat Jack Jones to the ball.
  • The Trojans ended the day with a two-minute drill. Browne led the first team offense to a field goal to win the period against the first team defense. Darnold gave the second team offense the win over the second team defense with a long touchdown over the top to Velus Jones, who left Kevin Carrasco in the dust.
  • Kicker Matt Boermeester made ten of his 12 attempts at the Coliseum.