USC football Spring Camp notes: QB battle to be settled in fall (4/9)

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

Practice standouts

  • John Jackson III… Jackson III made an impressive grab on a corner route from Kedon Slovis during 7-on-7 and caught a touchdown pass from Jack Sears.
  • Isaiah Pola-Mao… Pola-Mao intercepted Sears, making a savvy read to jump a pass on the sideline.
  • Christian Rector… Though USC’s pass rush and protection was hampered by no pads for the day, Rector was still a regular nuisance for the Trojan quarterbacks.

Highlights and tidbits

  • Due to NCAA regulations, USC practiced in helmets and jerseys on Tuesday.
  • 11-on-11 tempo segment:
    • Kedon Slovis went 3-for-4 with the first team, completing a number of short throws.
    • After a false start by center Justin Dedich (who was replaced by Brett Neilon as a result) Jack Season went 2-for-2 with the second team while handing off once to Markese Stepp and scrambling for a gain after being pressured by Rector.
    • JT Daniels went 1-for-3 with the first team. His second pass was intercepted by Greg Johnson after it was tipped high in the air. His final pass was a throw away thanks to pressure from a blitzing Chase Williams.
    • Matt Fink went 2-for-3 with the second team.
  • 7-on-7 segment:
    • Sears went 4-for-5 with the first team, but his lone incompletion was an interception by Isaiah Pola-Mao. When the quarterback tried to hit a deep out, the safety jumped the pass on the sideline.
    • Slovis went 5-for-5 with the second team, including the aforementioned completion to Jackson III.
    • Fink went 5-for-5 with the first team, working the underneath well.
    • Daniels went 4-for-5 with the second team. His lone deep attempt was dropped by Erik Krommenhoek going up the seam.
  • 11-on-11 drive segment:
    • Fink went 3-for-5 with the first team in the middle portion of the drive. After completing his first three passes quickly, he overthrew Amon-Ra St. Brown, who had gotten free behind the defense. His final pass was hurried and tipped by Rector.
    • Sears went 3-for-3 with the second team in the redzone, completing a touchdown to Jackson III over the middle with an effective pump fake to freeze the defense.
    • Daniels went 4-for-4 with the second team in the middle of the field. His pass out to Matthew Hocum was nearly intercepted by Brad Aoki when it hung up for a second, but the walk-on defensive back just missed the ball and it fell through to the receiver.
    • Slovis went 4-for-5 with the first team in the redzone. His second pass and lone incompletion was tipped by one of USC’s interior defensive linemen, Marlon Tuipulotu or Jay Tufele. His final pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown was completed despite pressure from Rector.

News and notes

  • Saturday scrimmage?… USC’s final practice of Spring Camp will be in full pads on Saturday, but it’s not clear how much scrimmaging the Trojans will do. Even Harrell was unsure, calling the decision “above my pay grade.” Still, the offensive coordinator revealed his preference: “The more live reps we can get, the better.” He did, however, acknowledge the importance of getting out of Spring Camp without losing anyone to injury.
  • On mobility… Harrell’s Air Raid includes some designed quarterback runs, but he sees mobility as a “bonus” not a “deal-breaker” when it comes to selecting his starter. “They’re going to take plenty of hits throwing the football so I don’t want them to take too many hits running the football,” he said.
  • John Jackson update… Freshman wide receiver John Jackson III spoke to the media for the first time as a Trojan on Tuesday, which gave him an opportunity to offer an update on the health of his father, USC legend John Jackson, who suffered a stroke late in 2018. “He’s in good spirits. He’s doing a lot better. It’s been nothing but a blessing to see him keep getting better,” Jackson III said.