USC football practice notes: Prepping for crowd noise on Day 9 (8/9)

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

USC Football’s ninth practice of fall camp got loud as the Trojans prepared for hostile environments in Pac-12 and out-of-conference play.

It may have been an August Wednesday in Los Angeles, but Howard Jones Field sounded more like South Bend on an October Saturday when the Trojans lined up to practice backed up situations.

At least, that’s what USC Football head coach Clay Helton hoped for when the speakers came out and the volume turned up.

“Obviously we play in some very loud places, not only in the Pac-12, but having to go to Notre Dame,” Helton said. “One of the things that we have rely on both offensively and defensively is the ability to communicate when it is loud.”

To accomplish that, the Trojans worked on visual snap counts and signals with crowd noise blaring from behind as punters booted balls from the back of the endzone and quarterbacks took snaps from the two-yard line.

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There were no major malfunctions, though the offense was hit for a false start and the defense an offsides during the 11-on-11.

“I want it to be miserable out here,” special teams coach John Baxter shouted from the practice field.

News and Notes

  • Ronald Jones II cut up the inside of the defense on a slicing run through the middle during 11-on-11.
  • Tight end Cary Angeline stretched out for a one-handed attempt to catch a slightly overthrown Matt Fink pass, but any hopes of completing that feat were dashed by linebacker Jordan Iosefa, who popped him hard to break up the play.
  • Receiver Joseph Lewis had safety Bubba Bolden beaten by a couple strides as Jack Sears tried to find him over the top, but the pass flew just beyond Lewis’ finger tips.
  • USC’s 7-on-7 period focused on third down situations. With Sam Darnold showing his proficiency at finding the sticks by going to Steven Mitchell, Deontay Burnett and Velus Jones for conversions. He also threw two touchdowns during the period. The first was to Tyler Vaughns on a rollout. The second saw him find Jalen Greene in a gap in the secondary.
  • Safety Ykili Ross made a diving interception against Matt Fink during 7-on-7, jumping a route to complete the turnover. Later in the period, Ross batted a Sears pass intended for Mitchell.
  • Defensive back Jamel Cook intercepted Sears on the sideline to end the 7-on-7 period.
  • Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu flew into the backfield to stop Aca’Cedric Ware behind the line of scrimmage during 11-on-11.

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  • Wednesday’s 1v1 highlights:
    • Trevon Sidney made a short catch against Ajene Harris, but the cornerback may have succeeded in pulling the ball from his grasp for an incompletion. At least, that’s what the nearby cornerbacks argued. Sidney also notched a win over Ross and Isaiah Pola-Mao
    • Tyler Vaughns had the (almost-) highlight of practice in a battle with Isaiah Langley. The receiver shook off the defender just long enough to extend for a one-handed catch which he bobbled coming down to the ground in the endzone. He managed to keep the ball off the ground and secure the catch, but might have been out of bounds in the process. The peanut gallery of nearby cornerbacks claimed no catch. Vaughns wasn’t finished, making a tough grab while falling later in the period.
    • Lewis got the better of cornerbacks Jalen Jones and Ajene Harris, using his body well to shield the defender on a comeback for the latter rep.
    • Josh Imatorbhebhe, who has been a steady riser this fall camp, beat out Iman Marshall for a long pass in the endzone, made even more impressive by the fact that the cornerback blatantly had a fistful of jersey for the final five yards of the route. Later he bested Bolden, using his body like Lewis to make room for the catch.
    • Jalen Greene got tons of separation against Bolden for a win on his rep.
    • Michael Pittman beat Jamel Cook and Velus Jones beat C.J. Pollard.
  • Blind longsnapper Jake Olson attempted two snaps, hitting both accurately.
  • A scout from the Jacksonville Jaguars was on hand for practice