USC football Spring Camp notes: Competition brings positive steps (3/23)

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

The sixth day of USC football Spring Camp kept competition at the forefront as the Trojans completed a situational scrimmage, including overtime challenge.

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After USC football’s Saturday practice, Clay Helton described the past two days of action on Howard Jones Field as “very competitive.”

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That’s a simple description of two days in full pads with, sometimes chaotic, live tackling segments. but it’s an accurate one.

On Thursday, the Trojans finished practice with a two-point conversion competition. On Saturday, Helton made it clear that that energetic and encouraging segment was no fluke. Once again, he ended practice with a competitive flair, pitting the offense and defense against each other in a mock overtime.

Each quarterback got a chance to helm the offense, with varying degrees of success.

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Matt Fink’s segment went swimmingly, largely due to the dominance of running back Markese Stepp. The quarterback threw his first pass inaccurately to the ground, but the second found Stepp in the flat. From there, it was all about the big bruiser, who kept his feet despite contact and turned upfield for an extra chunk of yards, dragging a pile of bodies down to the 10 yard line. From there, he bullied his way up between the tackles to the goal line before taking another handoff and leaping through the middle to score.

On his series, Jack Sears completed his first two passes to pick up a new set of downs, but had a ball tipped at the line by Abdul-Malik McClain. An incompletion and a quick sack later, his offense faced a fourth and forever. A flag flew on the final hopeful pass downfield, but the quarterback didn’t get the chance to continue.

JT Daniels wrapped things up for the day. He tried to go long to Michael Pittman on his first play, but tight coverage by Isaac Taylor-Stuart prevented the reception in the endzone. Walk-on running back Quincy Jountti earned a first down, setting up the final play. Daniels dropped back and hit Tyler Vaughns right at the goal line. He reached out to secure the touchdown and the win for the offense.

At this stage, the who and how of the competition matters less than the fact that USC is truly emphasizing competition this spring. The last two days of practice have been proof of that.