USC football: Evaluating each quarterback in the first Fall Camp scrimmage

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 /

USC football completed their first scrimmage of Fall Camp on Saturday, adding more questions to the quarterback battle than answering them.

MORE. Ranking USC's Opponents

Preparations for USC football’s 2019 season ramped up on Saturday as the Trojans held their first Fall Camp scrimmage.

What did we learn about the quarterback battle?

Here’s a look at each drive for each quarterback and how they fared on Saturday:

JT Daniels

Daniels saw the most action, which may or may not be a sign of where he stands in the quarterback battle as the incumbent starter.

He didn’t blow anyone out of the water on Saturday, but his performance was solid. The offense moved with more urgency than it had in Spring Camp, which was arguably the biggest concern over Daniels earlier this year.

In that sense, Scrimmage 1 was an improvement and moved him one step closer to officially reclaiming his starting job.

  • Drive 1 (1st team):
    • Daniels went 2-of-4, moving the offense with tempo but ultimately stalling twice. He completed a pass to Tyler Vaughns on the outside before rolling out and missing Devon Williams on an inaccurate short throw. On third down, a quick slant to Vaughns was inexplicably dropped by the receiver. Reset with a new set of downs, Daniels handed off to Stephen Carr, who was stopped quickly by Ralen Goforth. A quick out to Tyler Vaughns was also stopped by Goforth. On third down, a handoff to Carr yielded a nice chunk, but a shoestring tackle from Chase Williams stopped the offense short.
  • Drive 2 (Combo 1st and 2nd team)
    • Daniels went 1-of-2, with his first pass was intercepted by Greg Johnson on a quick slant, but there was a flag on the play. A low pass to Josh Falo was dropped, then the quarterback was forced to quickly scramble out of the pocket and was shepherded out of bounds by Palaie Gaotoete. The offense was moving backwards again when a hold was called on a Markese Stepp run, but Daniels made sure that didn’t matter, despite pressure from Johnson on a blitz, by launching a long pass over the top for Amon-Ra St. Brown, who had Chase Williams beat for the touchdown.
  • Drive 3 (3rd team):
    • Daniels went 3-of-4, completing quick passes to walk on receivers Zach Wilson, Chase Locke and Jack Webster. Safety Brandon Perdue, cornerback Dominic Davis and Jayden Williams had the stops. Caleb Tremblay dropped running back Chris Edmondson for a loss, then linebacker Bryce Matthews batted down the quarterback’s pass at the line before a shovel pass to Markese Stepp went nowhere thanks to Jordan McMillan to end the drive.
  • Drive 4 (1st team, red zone)
    • Daniels went 4-of-5 leading a successful scoring drive. Two Stephen Carr runs were stopped well by Palaie Gaoteote and Ralen Goforth before the offense really got moving. Daniels hit Tyler Vaughns on the outside and Devon Williams in the flat, with an alert stop from cornerback Chris Steele. On third and short, Carr took the handoff and gain just enough yardage up the middle. Gaoteote impressively broke up an inside throw to Erik Krommenhoek before Daniels went back to the tight end on the outside. On third down, the quarterback hit Amon-Ra St. Brown underneath and he sped away from Chase Williams, diving into the endzone for the score.
  • Drive 5 (2nd team)
    • Daniels went 1-of-3 on his first take, but completed a long scoring drive going 2-of-2 on the reset. His first pass was batted at the line by Connor Murphy, then he hit Markese Stepp for a short completion, which was stopped by Juliano Falaniko and Adonis Otey. His third down pass intended for Zach Wilson on the outside went incomplete. Set up with a new set of downs, He twice handed off to Stepp for chunk gains to move the chains. Another handoff was stopped by Elijah Winston before the quarterback hit Velus Jones on the outside. On third-and-short, Stepp was stopped short of the first down, but a fourth down attempt kept the drive alive. At the goal line, Daniels took advantage of a mismatch on the outside, lofting a fade into the corner for Devon Williams, who made the easy catch over Dorian Hewett.
  • Drive 6 (1st team, two-minute drill)
    • Daniels went 5-of-8, with one ball thrown away and another batted down at the line. He used quick passing to Michael Pittman and Stephen Carr to keep the offense ticking over, but the drive seemed to come to nothing.