USC football practice notes: Final camp scrimmage highlights youth (8/19)

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

The final practice of USC Football fall camp featured a Coliseum scrimmage with young Trojans like Stephen Carr and Bubba Bolden on display.

USC Football capped off fall camp 2017 with a youth-filled scrimmage at the Coliseum, giving young Trojans a chance to shine.

“I can’t think of a better way to finish off camp than to be right here at the Coliseum,” head coach Clay Helton said after the Trojans completed the scrimmage.

After the first team offense saw one drive, it was all second- and third-team action as the ones were given a break.

The standouts for the day included running backs Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai, safety Bubba Bolden and linebacker Levi Jones, according to Helton.

Carr once again out his strength and elusiveness on display as live tackling freed him up to shimmy past defenders or power through them.

Both Carr and Malepeai scored short touchdowns during USC’s red zone period, while Bolden showed off his hard-hitting ability and Helton commended Jones for being closer and closer to contributing at linebacker.

CHECK OUT: 5 Big Takeaways from Week 2 of Fall Camp

Along with individual standouts, the head coach was quick to point out something he has repeated all camp: USC is simply a deeper team than they have been in recent memory.

“It was really neat because you’re getting your twos and your threes in there, just to feel the overall depth and the quality of the depth,” Helton said.

News and Notes

  • Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao separated his shoulder during the scrimmage. Here’s Saturday’s injury report.
  • USC’s first team offense put together an impressive drive against the second-team defense to open the scrimmage, with Ronald Jones II featuring heavily. The running back ripped off two lengthy runs, breaking free from tackles to move the chains. He also caught a pass to set up a short Sam Darnold-to-Steven Mitchell touchdown at the goal line.
  • Darnold completed passes to Jalen Greene, Jones and Mitchell on that opening drive, but there was a touch of near-disaster on one play when Jones accidentally knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hand on a play-action. Darnold quickly recovered the ball and rolled out, but was whistled dead before he could do more. It was exactly the kind of play he’s turned into a highlight in the past.
  • The second team defense did not take the field at any point during the scrimmage. Helton said he had seen enough from them during camp and decided to give others an opportunity.
  • Receiver Tyler Vaughns just about juked cornerback Jamel Cook out of his shoes for a long pick up.
  • Linebacker Olajuwon Tucker sniffed out a swing pass to Malepeai, stopping the running back behind the line.
  • Quarterback Matt Fink tossed a touchdown to Cary Angeline, who took the pass in the flat and charged to the goal line.
  • Linebacker Oluwole Betiku sacked Fink to force a long third down. The drive ended with a failed screen pass attempt to Aca’Cedric Ware.
  • Wide receiver Joseph Lewis nearly added to his list of impressive grabs this camp, beating Greg Johnson to a ball on the outside, but he couldn’t hold onto the ball through contact with the ground.
  • Quarterback Jack Sears heaved a speculative effort to the back of the endzone for Vaughns, who went up for the catch but was pushed out of the back of the endzone by walk-on cornerback Jalen Jones.

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

  • After a couple of more positive days for Michael Brown, the kicker stumbled on Saturday, hitting just two of his five attempts. He hit kicks from 20 and 36 yards, but missed from 24, 29 and 42. Walk-on kicker Chase McGrath had a better day, hitting four of his five kicks, including a long of 42. His lone miss was from 36.
  • Johnson up-ended Malepeai when he tried to bounce a run outside on second-and-goal from the nine.
  • Tight end Erik Krommenhoek made a tough catch near the goal line, taking a wallop from Bolden but holding onto the ball.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Langley went toe-to-toe with Lewis on an endzone fade from Matt Fink. The cornerback was just able to tip the ball away from the receiver as both were falling in the corner. The play earned a heaping of praise from his defensive teammates.
  • The defense finished the day strong as Brandon Pili and Connor Murphy sacked Sears to end camp.
  • It wasn’t the best day for cornerback Jack Jones, who saw reps on the second team defense while the first teamers spent the whole day on the sideline. He fumbled during a kickoff drill and muffed a punt, though there was a halo violation flagged.