USC Football Fall Camp Notes: Pitch-and-catch at the Coliseum on Day 6

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

Day 6 of USC football’s Fall Camp brought the Trojans back to the Coliseum, where the quarterbacks played pitch-and-catch with a growing wide receiver corps.

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USC football was back home on Thursday afternoon, practicing on the Coliseum floor for the first time this calendar year.

“Man what a cool deal to be back in here,” head coach Clay Helton said in the shadow of construction on the new Scholarship Tower. “It looks phenomenal.”

On Day 6 of Fall Camp, it may be hyperbole to say the Trojan quarterbacks looked phenomenal, but the passers certainly set the tone with an efficient outing, continuing to show progress each day of camp.

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“Did a lot of pitching and catching today,” Helton said.

Having had the chance to evaluate film from Wednesday’s mini-scrimmage back at Howard Jones Field, the head coach was quick to praise Matt Fink, Jack Sears and JT Daniels for their timely decisions and accuracy, traits which carried over into Thursday’s action.

The 7-on-7 period featured just five incompletions in 25 passes between the trio, with three wide receiver drops and a likely pass interference accounting for four of those passes.

Daniels completed 9-of-10 attempts. Fink, the recipient of two drops, went 7-of-10, while Sears finished 4-of-5.

The 11-on-11 blitz period challenged the passers more thoroughly, but Sears still completed the most impressive play of the day, launching a deep ball for Amon-Ra St. Brown after sidestepping pressure from defensive lineman Jay Tufele. The freshman receiver made an equally impressive grab on the play, holding onto the ball for the touchdown despite tight coverage from cornerback Olaijah Griffin.

For his part, Daniels moved the ball efficiently on short-range passes, giving his receivers opportunities to turn and run.

“I was impressed with them in the blitz period today getting the ball out on time,” Helton said.

The quarterbacks are showing a sense of urgency they didn’t have in the first three practices, Helton added. It’s showing.

Practice standouts

  1. Amon-Ra St. Brown: St. Brown caught Sears’ deep throw and nearly added an even more impressive grab on a diving effort for a Daniels’ throw. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to hold the ball through the ground, but he still showed his high level. Helton marveled at his ability not to get caught up in the change of venue while offensive coordinator Tee Martin assured he’d be seeing plenty of playing time this year.
  2. Jack Sears: Along with capturing the highlight of the day, Sears showed arguably the best command of USC’s offense for the second-straight practice whether throwing long or short.
  3. Josh Imatorbhebhe: Imatorbhebhe won his battles during the 1v1 period and made a man miss to pick up a chunk of yards on an impressive catch-and-run play during 11-on-11.

Notes and tidbits

  • After struggling with snapping issues throughout the week, Toa Lobendahn and the rest of USC’s centers seemed to have the problem in order on Thursday. There were no errant snaps to note.
  • It wasn’t all positives for Sears, who dropped a snap, but quickly recovered it and was able to get off a pass, which ultimately fell incomplete.
  • CORRECTION: Freshman cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart intercepted a Daniels’ pass, not Sears’, during 1v1s.
  • The first series of the 11-on-11 period didn’t exactly go well for Fink. He four straight incompletions.
  • Running back Stephen Carr caught a long throw from Daniels during 7-on-7 which by strict thud-touch rules was stopped short of the goal line as Bubba Bolden laid two hands on him, but likely would have resulted in a touchdown in full contact.
  • St. Brown, Trevon Sidney, Aca’Cedric Ware and Velus Jones Jr. dropped at least one pass each.
  • Marvell Tell and Ajene Harris broke up a pass intended for Sidney over the middle by walloping the receiver as he tried to make the catch.
  • Reuben Peters and Raymond Scott had sacks on the day.
  • Helton is a fan of the new Scholarship Tower which he said feels like it’s on top of you.tower feels like it’s on top of you: “I think it’s going to be an unbelievable experience, not only for our players, but for our fans. She’s already special and with this upgrade, I can’t wait to play in it.”
  • He’s an even bigger fan of the newly-replaced field at the Coliseum: “I could sleep on it it’s that nice… I came out here and said that’s a really fast track.”