USC football practice notes: Stephen Carr has his burst back (8/5)

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

Practice standouts

  • Ralen Goforth… The freshman linebacker has seen regular reps with the second team, popping up with several noteworthy plays on Monday. He blew up a wide receiver screen, hitting Munir McClain with emphasis in 11-on-11. Later he broke up a pass during 7-on-7.
  • Greg Johnson… After a bit of a tough outing on Sunday, Johnson came back with the biggest play of Monday, jumping an attempt to the outside from Matt Fink during a third-down segment. The cornerback secured the interception and would have surely been free to complete the pick six undisturbed were it on a full field.
  • Isaac Taylor-Stuart… USC’s other first team cornerback has kept his performance high this Fall Camp. He didn’t have the big play of his counterpart, but he put together a string of smaller moments. He nearly intercepted a JT Daniels pass during 1v1s then broke up two Daniels and Fink passes during the 7-on-7 third down segment.

Highlights and tidbits

Safety Dorian Hewett was not in shells like the rest of his teammates. Since he missed Friday’s practice, he needed an extra day of work in just a jersey per NCAA rules.

1v1 period:

  • JT Daniels tossed a perfect touchdown to Michael Pittman from 25 yards out. He also hit Velus Jones and Drake London for scores from 15 yards out, finishing up the goal line segment with a fade touchdown to Devon Williams. Unfortunately, he also badly missed several throws and was nearly intercepted by Isaac Taylor-Stuart on an inaccurate ball.
  • Matt Fink completed touchdowns to Jones, twice, and Tyler Vaughns on a fade.
  • Max Williams and Raymond Scott each had a pass breakup during the period, while Chris Steele had two, but also was hit with pass interference.

11-on-11 period:

  • Kedon Slovis went 2-of-3 with his only incompletion coming at the fault of Michael Pittman, who dropped an accurately-placed 25-yard over-the-shoulder pass in the endzone. Greg Johnson was in coverage and did well to make the receiver uncomfortable, though it should have been caught anyways.
  • Jack Sears went 1-of-1 with his only completion resulting in a short gain to Munir McClain on a wide receiver screen. Ralen Goforth sniffed it out and prevented it from going anywhere. Two handoffs and a QB run resulted in little gain.
  • Matt Fink went 1-of-1. Two handoffs were stuffed by the defensive line.
  • JT Daniels went 1-of-1, finding Jack Webster up the seam for a chunk gain. Three handoffs were stuffed by Abdul-Malik McClain, Brandon Pili and Jordan McMillan.

7-on-7 third down period:

  • Fink went 4-of-7, making up for his pick six by fitting a pass in a gap in the secondary to Drake London on a post.
  • Daniels went 6-of-7, appearing to convert all but one third down.
  • Sears went 3-of-5, finding Josh Falo for a touchdown wide open down the seam.

Driving 11-on-11 period:

Sears went 2-of-4 driving from the 25-yard line. One incompletion was batted down by a lineman while another was the subject of some controversy. The quarterback did well to roll away from Marlon Tuipulotu’s pressure and tossed a pass to Michael Pittman towards the sideline. The receiver appeared to catch the ball falling out of bounds but the referee on hand called it incomplete. Video review would tell the tale were it a game situation.

Slovis went 3-of-5 in the middle portion of the field, overthrowing both incompletions.

Daniels went 1-of-4 working in the redzone. His one completion was a swing pass at the goal line to Kenan Christon, who turned the corner thanks to a strong block from Velus Jones then accelerated to the endzone. A fade attempt to Pittman in the corner of the endzone saw a flag fly, but it wasn’t clear who the referees penalized. Pittman complained vehemently but Olaijah Griffin ultimately did up-downs.

Fink went 1-of-3 driving from the 25-yard line, finding Amon-Ra St. Brown for his lone completion despite pressure from Nick Figueroa. Drake Jackson stuffed Christon on a handoff.

Slovis went 4-of-4 again from the middle of the field. This time he delivered the ball accurately, taking what was there on short routes. He completed a pass to Jones despite pressure from Tuipulotu and Hunter Echols.

Sears went 1-of-2 in the redzone. Juliano Falaniko stuffed a run and Max Williams blanketed Drake London on a pass attempt, forcing the rolling Sears to throw the ball out of the back of the endzone. Sears ran up the middle for a score, though he was touched before the plane of the goal. A handoff to Christon had similar ambiguity to it, as he was met short of the goal line by Trevor Trout, but bounced off him and across the line. Since it was a non-tackling day, neither was technically a touchdown.

More from Reign of Troy

News and notes

  • Full pads on Wednesday… Monday was the first day in shells for the Trojans and Tuesday will follow suit, according to Helton. On Wednesday, the full pads will come on for the first time.
  • Tackling thuds… USC’s defenders appear more than ready for the pads to come on and the tackling to begin. Helton had to pull the team together at the end of practice to remind them that when practicing in shells they are not supposed to bring players down. “There were a lot of bodies on the ground today,” Helton said.
  • Defensive backs bonded… The Trojans appear to be making much-needed strides in the secondary, progress the head coach credits to his new defensive backs coach. “I think Coach [Greg] Burns has done a really good job bonding that group together,” Helton said. “[He’s] really brought some technical skill to the group and they’re doing a nice job.”