USC football practice notes: Hard hitting first day of full pads (8/4)

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC Football’s fall camp Day 5 featured the Trojans in full pads for the first time, with the defense reveling in hard hits and the offense in red zone touchdowns.

USC Football was back in full pads on Friday and the defensive players in all white were loving the action.

“I liked it, putting full pads on, really getting a little hit on,” linebacker John Houston said after the Trojans finished up practice on Howard Jones Field.

Houston was one of a few defenders who took full advantage of thud periods, smacking Dominic Davis to the ground during 7-on-7.

The team run period also featured a number of big hits. The first came via early camp star Ykili Ross, who popped tight end Erik Krommenhoek.

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Then young safeties Bubba Bolden and Isaiah Pola-Mao got in on the action. The former hit Michael Pittman with force after he caught a pass from Jack Sears. A couple plays later, Pola-Mao came running full force into new walk on running back Corbin Jountti.

Friday was only the beginning. After a taste of the action, Houston said he’s ready for even more.

“We’re going to really see tomorrow with full pads all the way to the ground,” he said.

News and Notes

  • While the defense may have enjoyed the ability to hit, the offense made the most of the tight red zone work USC did from the 10- and 5-yard lines.
    • Sam Darnold found Trevon Sidney falling backwards into the endzone for a short touchdown during 7-on-7. Later he hit Randal Grimes for a score past Iman Marshall.
    • Matt Fink hit Tyler Vaughns for a touchdown at the goal line later in the period. He also tossed a touchdown to Grimes on a comeback in the endzone, though the defensive sideline shouted for a penalty because of a push off by the receiver.
    • Jack Sears found less success during the 7-on-7 period, completing just one pass to Jountti in the flat. When the runningback was taken out by Jamel Cook the sideline exploded with cheers.
    • The 11-on-11 red zone period was dominated by the offense with Ronald Jones II scoring the first touchdown. Even though the running back has put on weight this offseason, bulking up to 207 pounds, he showed off his speed when he bounced to the outside and beat the pursuing defenders to the goal line.
    • Darnold completed his day by finding Jalen Greene on a roll out to complete the two-point conversion simulation.
    • Fink also found success in 11-on-11. He hit Cary Angeline for a touchdown and later completed the two-point conversion to the tight end as well.
    • Staying with the trend of the day, Sears couldn’t punch it in, scrambling outside but getting stopped at the goal line. He did complete his two-point conversion attempt, tossing a completion to Grimes. However, the defense hollered for a flag.
  • In one of the biggest mismatches of the day, 5-11 cornerback Jack Jones ended up covering 6-7 tight end Cary Angeline on an end zone fade from Darnold during 7-on-7. The smaller man somehow managed to disrupt the catch and nearly made a bobbling interception on the way back down.

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  • Again one of the most competitive periods of practice, the one-on-one between receivers and cornerbacks produced some highlights.
    • Greene made an impressive catch against Iman Marshall, going up over the defender to start the period on a good note for the receivers.
    • Tyler Vaughns had a diving catch in the endzone against Jack Jones, but the corner got his revenge on the rematch when he timed his swat perfectly to break up a slant intended for the receiver. However, Vaughns took the tie breaker by creating more cushion on the same route and completing the catch.
    • Deontay Burnett repeated Greene’s feat against Ajene Harris in the corner of the endzone.
    • Ross stayed tight with Velus Jones on his first rep, deflecting the ball with his helmet.
    • Pittman made a one-handed grab against Greg Johnson.
    • Chris Hawkins maintained perfectly tight coverage to prevent Grimes from making a catch.
  • Scouts from the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams were on hand for practice.
  • On Saturday, the Trojans will scrimmage for the first time with full tackling.