USC Football News: Fall Camp, Day 12 Practice Notes (8/17)

USC safety Matt Lopes during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC safety Matt Lopes during practice at Howard Jones Field. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

Day 12 of USC football Fall Camp focused on sharpening up situational skills as the close of camp quickly approaches.

USC football’s Wednesday practice at Howard Jones Field sounded a bit different than normal for the last half hour.

The Trojan Marching Band marched their way over from Cromwell Field to provide the background for USC’s final 11-on-11 periods on the invitation of head coach Clay Helton.

“Guys said they wanted some music, I thought I’d bring the best music you can get and that’s our band. We thoroughly enjoyed having them out there,” Helton said after Day 12 of Fall Camp.

The distraction served the Trojans well as they played out their end of game situational work — with two minutes and 30 seconds on the clock and two timeouts in hand, the offense was tasked with getting a first down and getting the ball down the field while the defense needed to produce a three-and-out.

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“[Camp’s] not only fundamentals and techniques but also teaching situational football, every situation that may come up in the season,” said Helton.

USC rapidly running out of time to play out those scenarios, 12 days and 16 practices in. That leaves 13 more practices left before kick off against Alabama.

“I wish we had 29 more to go,” Helton said, though he praised his team for where they stand right now. “With the progress that we’ve made, especially defensively, from Day 1 of spring ball until now, we’re right where we need to be.”

With Wednesday’s practice all wrapped up, there are just two more days before Fall Camp proper comes to an end, with classes starting next week.

“These next two days are important for us to establish everybody’s role,” said Helton. “Then when we come in Sunday we’ll start on Alabama.”

Three Stars of the Day

  1. Matt Lopes: It was a huge day for the walk-on safety with two interceptions and deflections, including one in the endzone.
  2. Iman Marshall: Marshall broke up a Browne pass to tight end Tyler Petite at the goal line during 7-on-7, then popped Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Justin Davis each in the flat.
  3. Matt Boermeester: Boermeester, who has been consistently accurate all week, hit kicks from 22, 32, 40 and 50 yards out, but his third attempt from 40 was blocked by Iman Marshall.

From the Notebook

  • Injury Update:
    • Offensive lineman Damien Mama was pulled while he deals with the ankle he injured on Tuesday. Helton said it wasn’t a major concern.
    • Defensive lineman Stevie Tu’ikolovatu came out with a hip problem after being fallen on and was pulled as a precaution.
    • Defensive lineman Rasheem Green has a knee contusion and was limited.
    • Safety Ykili Ross and center Cole Smith remain out with the stomach bug.
    • Offensive guard Jordan Simmons has a sore knee and was given the day off to rest it.
    • Cornerback Isaiah Langley and safety John Plattenburg are both out with concussions.
  • All 105 Trojan football players have officially been declared academically eligible to play in 2016.
  • With Mama and Simmons out, Chris Brown and Viane Talamaivao worked with the first team offensive line.
  • Green’s absence saw Malik Dorton and Tu’ikolovatu serve as nickel package linemen.
  • At linebacker, Cameron Smith and Michael Hutchings took first team reps, as they have done for most of the week.
  • Receiver Steven Mitchell, who has been dealing with drops over the last couple of practices, including Wednesday’s, came back with an impressive one-handed catch on a deep pass over the top from Darnold.
  • Darnold found Trevon Sidney for a long completion during 11-on-11.
  • Reid Budrovich, who is filling in at kicker because of Michael Brown’s quad injury, went 2-of-4 on kicks. He hit two short attempts but missed from 32 and 40 yards out.
  • During the “Danger Punt” drill from inside the endzone, Chris Tilbey fumbled the snap and had to go down for a safety.
  • Lopes tipped a pass intended for Deontay Burnett in the endzone then jumped a pass over the middle for his interception of Brown on the next play.
  • Brown came back and found Velus Jones for a touchdown following the interception.
  • Uchenna Nwosu sacked Browne during 7-on-7 while Josh Fatu got in a sack on during 11-on-11. Darnold was also sacked by John Houston.
  • Receiver Michael Pittman got behind the defense on one play but Darnold overthrew the pass that came his way.
  • Matt Fink had a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage but was able to catch the ball and run for no gain. The next play he was intercepted by Lopes.