USC football practice notes: First day at LA Coliseum (8/15)

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images /

USC Football’s 14th day of fall camp kept the emphasis on situational work, including third downs and a four-minute end-of-game scenario.

It may have been decked out in Los Angeles Rams logos with video boards touting a preseason soccer match between Real Madrid and Manchester City, but USC Football was back home on the LA Coliseum floor on Tuesday

“I thought it was a really good, competitive, physical practice,” Helton said after practice No. 14 of fall camp ended.

USC, in full pads, worked on third down situations, emphasizing knowing where the sticks are in both short and long yardage situations. The Trojans started in a third-and-four scenario, moving back to cover third-and-six, third-and-eight and third-and-10. They also held a period specifically for third-and-short.

CHECK OUT: 5 Takeaways From Week 2 of Fall Camp

Helton also put his team in another end-of-game scenario, this time a four-minute drill. The offense was tasked with getting one first down to kill the clock. The defense was looking to stop the offense to get the ball back. The first team defense prevailed while the second team offense rode Stephen Carr to a first down and a win.

“Overall, I loved their competitiveness and what they brought to the table today,” the head coach said.

News and Notes

  • Michael Pittman suffered a high ankle sprain while going against Jack Jones in one-on-ones: Here’s Tuesday’s injury report.
  • Toa Lobendahn remained at left tackle for the whole practice with Nico Falah in the center.
  • Andrew Voorhees missed out because of back soreness so Clayton Johnston worked at right tackle with the second team.
  • Reid Budrovich remained USC’s first team punter over Chris Tilbey.
  • Multiple defenders logged tackles for loss on Tuesday by flying into the backfield aggressively including Chris Hawkins taking down Ronald Jones II, Kenny Bigelow tackling Aca’Cedric Ware, Matt Lopes sacking Matt Fink, Jacob Lichtenstein and Jay Tufele touching dead Jack Sears on consecutive plays and Uchenna Nwosu sacking Sam Darnold almost instantly to end the four-minute period.
  • Darnold tossed a long pass to Cary Angeline, which may have resulted in a touchdown if play continued.

TRENDING STORY: Predicting USC’s Depth Chart for the Season Opener

One-versus-one highlights between the receivers and cornerback included:

  • Steven Mitchell seemed to win most of his reps, beating Ajene Harris for a catch before drawing a pass interference against the nickelback on the next go-around. He capped the period by making a slick one-handed grab in the back of the endzone past Iman Marshall.
  • Tyler Vaughns dropped the first pass thrown his way while going against Jamel Cook. He made up for it by separating from Jones on a slant then deftly securing a catch in the endzone coming out of a turn.
  • Marshall beat Deontay Burnett to a jump ball for an interception.

During an 11-on-11 thud period, Darnold was almost picked off by Jones because of an apparent miscommunication with a receiver. However, the pass came too fast for Jones and he couldn’t bring it down.

More from Reign of Troy

Ykili Ross almost intercepted Matt Fink on back-to-back plays. On the first, Velus Jones did well to force the ball out of the defensive back’s hands. On the second, a pass popped off of Vaughns’ hands and ricocheted into the air giving Cook and Ross a chance at it, though both came up just short.

Burnett made a one-handed over the middle on a Darnold throw which had the Coliseum limited crowd erupt in a gasp.

Vaughns stole an interception from Cook as the defensive back caught a Fink pass only to have it ripped out of his hands by the receiver.

Michael Brown and Chase McGrath were much improved on Tuesday, going 8-of-9 on kicks. Both hit field goals from 24, 29 and 35 yards, with Brown booting a 27-yarder and a 44-yarder. McGrath’s lone miss hit the post from 44 yards out.

The Cleveland Browns had scouts on hand.