USC football practice notes: Michael Brown hits pressure kick (8/16)

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

Practice No. 15 of USC Football fall camp put the pressure on kicker Michael Brown, who kicked an overtime-winning field goal to give the team a night off.

USC Football returned to Howard Jones Field for practice on Wednesday, as Trojan students came back to campus in droves for Move-In Day.

The return of students meant the return of the Trojan Marching Band, which serenaded USC for a portion of practice, raising the energy level as players raised their fingers in salute.

When the band departed, there was something else to keep energy high — an overtime battle splitting the team into two opposing forces.

The second team offense was paired with the first team defense on one sideline while the first team offense and second team defense joined up on the other side.

After the first team defense forced a missed Chase McGrath field goal from 34 yards out, the second team defense stopped the first team offense just short of a first down at the 16-yard line.

On fourth-and-one, Michael Brown trotted out with head coach Clay Helton declaring a made field goal with result in a win, and the night off from meetings.

CHECK OUT: 5 Takeaways From Week 2 of Fall Camp

The kicker’s aim was true from 33 yards.

“They’ve been grinding for 15 days straight, daylight until dark,” Helton said. “To get the night off of meetings, I know the guys are happy he made that field goal.”

News and Notes

  • Receiver Velus Jones sat out with his foot in a boot: Here’s Wednesday’s injury report.
  • Helton spent one period working one-on-one with Daniel Imatorbhebhe, who is easing back from a hip flexor. The head coach tossed passes for the tight end, who could be back in action next week.
  • Cornerback Jamel Cook took advantage of Matt Fink’s bad decision to throw a pass to a covered receiver on the sideline by nabbing an interception.
  • USC’s kickers continue to rehabilitate their image after a less-than-stellar showing last week. Michael Brown went 6-of-7 with a long of 35 yards. Chase McGrath was 2-of-5, but one of his misses was on a bad snap.

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

  • Wednesday’s 7-on-7 period focused on third downs and plays in the red zone:
    • Steven Mitchell failed to haul in a catchable pass over the middle from Sam Darnold to start the period. The ball hit his fingers and fell incomplete.
    • Deontay Burnett then dropped a short pass from Darnold after taking a hit from Chris Hawkins and Ajene Harris.
    • On third-and-four, Darnold swung a pass out to Ronald Jones II for a first down conversion.
    • On third-and-eight, Darnold converted another first, finding Trevon Sidney in a gap between Harris and Jack Jones.
    • Safety Matt Lopes nearly intercepted Matt Fink on a third-and-eight throw.
    • Darnold converted a number of first downs during the red zone portion, finding Jalen Greene, Mitchell and Burnett to move the sticks.
    • Fink converted a first on his first throw to Tyler Vaughns to start his drive. Vaughns ended the drive by almost completing a bobbling one-handed attempt in the endzone. Either way, there was blatant pass interference by Isaiah Langley on the play.
    • Langley nearly had an interception on the previous play, when a Fink pass for tight end Austin Applebee was tipped up by Bubba Bolden and the cornerback fell just short of making the diving pick.
    • Jack Sears threw an interception on his first play, though the quarterback was not entirely at fault. Joseph Lewis went down to scoop up a pass to the sideline, but ended up scooping it right up into Dominic Davis’ arms, much to the delight of the defense.
    • Linebacker Grant Moore tipped a Sears pass intended for tight end Erik Krommenhoek.