USC football Spring Camp notes: Young talent showcased (4/6)

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 /

Practice standouts

  • Drake Jackson… His one-handed interception off the edge might have been one of the most impressive feats has performed on the practice field in a long time.
  • Markese Stepp… Power was always the name of the game for Stepp, but he finished out a practice week in which he showed improved pass catching and pass protection by also displaying impressive speed for a player his size.
  • Dominic Davis… It’s been a strong week of practice for Davis, who capped it by stripping Devon Williams and completing a scoop-and-score.

Highlights and tidbits

  • Marlon Tuipulotu had a big tackle for loss rushing up the middle during 11-on-11.
  • Christian Rector dropped Matt Fink for a sack.
  • John Jackson III had a particularly active day, including an impressive grab on the sideline on a throw from Jack Sears.
  • Eli’Jah Winston, who continues to line up with the first team regularly, completed a sack against Sears.
  • The offense won the final period of practice with successful goal line drives. Fink hit Amon-Ra St. Brown to get into short yardage, then handed off for a touchdown with the first team. JT Daniels found Erik Krommenhoek right at the goal line to set up Vavae Malepeai for a touchdown to end the day.

News and notes

  • Day 1 to Day 12… “I can’t tell you how happy I am to see us where we were practice No. 1 to where we are practice No. 12,” head coach Clay Helton said. The team is playing fast, with great energy and focus, according to the head coach. They are also more fundamentally sound and more disciplined.
  • No confusion, no hesitation… Throughout camp, the Trojans have talked about keeping it simple so they can play fast. On Saturday, the speed with which his team is playing after 12 practices is what stood out to Helton the most. “There’s no confusion, there’s no hesitation,” Helton said.
  • Two turnovers… Helton was particularly pleased to see the defense generate two turnovers on the day because it has been an emphasis over the past few days. “We had really pushed that,” Helton said.
  • One more in full pads… Helton revealed the Trojans will have just one more practice in full pads because of NCAA rules. The final three days of camp will include two days in shells and a final practice in pads.
  • Simplicity for the line… USC’s offensive line has benefited greatly from the simplified offensive system, according to Helton. Less plays means less protections and runs to learn, which has allowed offensive line coach Tim Drevno to focus more on fundamentals and technique this spring, Helton said. “They have improved,” he said, pleased with how they have come together in 12 practices.
  • 60-40 run-pass… While talking about the importance of USC’s running backs being able to catch passes and pass protect, Helton dropped in the nugget that the Trojan offense will likely be 60-40 in favor of the pass in 2019.