USC football practice notes: End-of-game emphasis as end of camp nears (8/17)

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

USC Football’s 16th practice of fall camp continued to emphasize end-of-game scenarios as the end of camp itself nears.

Fall camp is nearing an end as USC Football’s coaches seek to fit in all the preparation they can handle before the Trojans’ mock game week begins in just days.

On Thursday, end-of-game situations once again came to the forefront. For example, if there are 12 seconds left on the clock and USC needs 10 yards to get into field goal with no timeouts, the Trojans worked on completing a play quickly and getting up to the line of scrimmage to clock the ball.

Other situations included Hail Mary scenarios and a two-point conversion to win the game, along with special teams emphasis.

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On Friday, things will calm down with a walkthrough before the Trojans take to the Coliseum field again on Saturday for the final practice of fall camp.

Saturday will be all about the youngsters.

“We’ve got a pretty good feel for some of the older kids right now and what they’re capable of and we’re really going to try to focus on some of the newcomers and see where they’re at,” Helton said

News and Notes

  • There were no new injuries to report on Thursday, but a number of Trojans remain out including Michael Pittman and Velus Jones.
  • Defensive lineman Rasheem Green had a bright outing. He sacked quarterback Matt Fink during the team run and later tipped a Sam Darnold pass at the line of scrimmage during the two-minute 11-on-11 period.
  • Ajene Harris saw some time with the first team offense at cornerback, with Ykili Ross stepping into his place at nickelback. He made the most of his opportunity, making a diving interception on Fink while defending Josh Imatorbhebhe. The 20-yard pass down the sideline was throw too far inside and Harris made a play to get it.
  • Quarterback Jack Sears floated a ball to a wide open tight end Erik Krommenhoek, who was tapped down just shy of the endzone by Ross.
  • On the next play, Iman Marshall grabbed his own interception on a similar route to the opposite side, beating Jackson Boyer to the ball.

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  • The Trojan quarterbacks worked on their fades by aiming for a trash bin in each corner of the endzone. Darnold managed a perfect shot into the can once, hitting the plastic 10 times in 32 throws. Fink also made it in once and hit the bin nine times, improving as he went along. Sears swished it three times and made contact five times.
  • The 7-on-7 period tested the offense and defense at the goal line, with plays starting at the 10-yard line:
    • Darnold’s first set was nearly-perfect. The quarterback found Steven Mitchell twice in the back of the endzone and slung a high pass over the middle for Deontay Burnett, who elevated to complete the catch. A shallow crossing route to Burnett was the only pass which didn’t score.
    • Fink found similar success against the second team. He hit Joseph Lewis for a score after the receiver faked Isaiah Langley and came free outside. Tight end Cary Angeline also beat Langley to a fade while Fink tossed a third touchdown to Trevon Sidney. His final pass intended for Tyler Vaughns was tipped out of bounds.
    • Darnold returned for his second drive, immediately throwing a TD to tight end Tyler Petite. However, the defense buckled down, forcing the quarterback to tuck it once and throw it away once. A pass intended for Angeline was also tipped away.
    • Though Fink took advantage of Langley on his first go around, the cornerback bounced back well. On a swing pass to Stephen Carr, Langley stopped the running back just short of the goal line going out of bounds. He also flew in to bat down a pass intended for Imatorbhebhe. Fink was also forced to tuck it and overthrew Carr, who was defended tightly by linebacker Levi Jones, on another play.
    • Sears’ lone set of the period featured the quarterback slinging a touchdowns to Lewis and Grimes, cornerback Greg Johnson breaking up a pass for Randall Grimes and linebacker Jordan Iosefa and safety Isaiah Pola-Mao stopping Grimes short of the endzone.
  • During the two-minute 11-on-11 period, Darnold and the first team offense moved the ball well against the first team defense. Darnild hit each of his three starting receivers, Mitchell, Burnett and Greene, to move the chains consistently downfield. However, after clocking the ball with 11 seconds on the clock, the offense failed to get the ball into the endzone.
  • Fink had the offense rolling to start his drive as well. On consecutive plays, he generated chunks of yardage throwing to Aca’Cedric Ware, Sidney and Imatorbhebhe, twice. However, the defense bucked down, with Levi Jones and Malik Dorton logging sacks on the final two plays of the drive.
  • Scouts for the Rams and Colts were on hand for practice.