Takeaways from USC football Spring Camp in 2019 include real changes to the way the Trojans practiced, settled position battles and more.
USC football’s Spring Camp was a change to get the 2019 season off on the right foot after the Trojans fell flat on their face in 2018.
Did USC set the right standard in practice this time around? Did the Trojans respond to the disappointment of last year with the right energy?
Here’s a look at what we’ve learned during Spring Camp:
Clay Helton is trying to change
When the 2018 season ended and Lynn Swann made the decision to keep Clay Helton on as head coach, the message was clear: There would be major changes.
Skepticism was high even after Helton replaced half the coaching staff. But the real changes to practice the head coach implemented this Spring Camp have been undeniable.
The Trojans went full pads as often as they could, and utilized live tackling to good effect. Even when in just shorts and shells, they didn’t back off the physicality. Most importantly, they finished each practice with a lively competition period.
Changes on offense were obvious with the introduction of the Air Raid, but the defensive scheme was also adjusted, with players across the lineup filling new roles tailored to their strengths.
The presence of new staff members changed dynamics around practice as well, while the inclusion of referees at every practice gave players and coaches real-time feedback on the penalty front. Consequences were not taken lightly as players who committed penalties were removed from the lineup immediately. Up-downs and push-ups were a regular feature.
The true impact of changes will be seen when the season arrives, but you can’t accuse Helton of sticking with the status quo.