Clay Helton dubbed USC Football’s Tuesday practice ahead of the season opener against Western Michigan one of the Trojans best of the fall.
USC Football is just days away from taking the field for the first time this season, so it’s a good thing the sharpness on both sides of the ball was noticeable on Tuesday.
“Really good practice today,” Helton said after practice. “By far one of our best of the entire camp and we need it.”
If there was concern about Sam Darnold’s chemistry with his receiving corps, things looked much smoother. The quarterback hardly put a pass wrong while the timing between thrower and catcher appeared as synced as it has been.
Defensively, the Trojan first team easily shut down the second unit during 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 periods.
These next few practices will all lead up to the first test of the 2017 season, facing a Western Michigan team which won 13 games last year and should provide a valuable challenge for the Trojans.
News and Notes
- Receiver Michael Pittman is doubtful for USC’s season opener. For more, check out Tuesday’s injury report.
- Helton started his post-practice remarks by sending his thoughts and prayers to people in Houston and south Texas dealing with flooding. He said he has family in the area and hopes that everyone does what they can to help.
- Freshman tight end Josh Falo saw a lot of time with the first team, while fellow freshman Erik Krommenhoek also received first team reps.
- USC’s 1v1 period held some highlights for both corners and receivers:
- Deontay Burnett got the better of Ajene Harris, but the nickelback came back and grabbed an interception while covering Velus Jones Jr.
- Iman Marshall had a pass breakup on a short throw to Jalen Greene.
- Joseph Lewis made two impressive, strong grabs going against Jack Jones and Greg Johnson. He used his body to shield the ball on the first and went up high for the second.
- Trevon Sidney and Josh Imatorbhebhe both dropped passes, though the former was more egregious as Harris helped to break up the latter.
- During 7-on-7, Darnold hit Steven Mitchell for a touchdown on a pass over the middle that safety Marvell Tell tried to jump, but got there a hair too late. He also spread the ball around to a variety of targets, finding Jones Jr. for a score.
- Nickelback Ykili Ross broke up a pass intended for Sidney during 7-on-7.
- Harris laid a big hit on receiver Jake Russell during 11-on-11.
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- The kicking competition continued on Tuesday with Michael Brown hitting 4-of-6 attempts while Chase McGrath nailed 3-of-6. Both kickers had a kick blocked by Jack Jones, McGrath from 34 yards and Brown from 39, though the cornerback was accused of being offside. (He vehemently denied the accusation.) Both Brown and McGrath had a long of 49 on the day.
- As USC practiced backed-up punts from inside the endzone with speakers blaring to simulate crowd noise, walk-on Reid Budrovich once again took first reps over returning starter Chris Tilbey.