By Johnny Curren
It didn’t take Adoree’ Jackson long. After spending the first 11 workouts of fall camp at cornerback, the standout sophomore switched over to the offensive side of the ball for the first time on Wednesday, and just a few plays into the first 11-on-11 session he hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kessler. It was the first of a number of highlight plays for Jackson on the day.
“I thought he looked really good,” said USC head coach Steve Sarkisian. “I felt like every time he touched the ball he might score, and that’s what it should feel like. That’s why we’re using him on offense. He was effective for us today.”
Making plays all over the field, the dynamic athlete had at least two other touchdown catches, while also picking one up on the ground.
“When I got out there I just felt at home,” Jackson said of lining up on offense. “It was a lot of fun. When I’m on the offensive side of the ball, that’s pretty much where the fun is, because you get to do more spectacular things out there to get the offense going, and to get your teammates excited.”
Sarkisian was particularly impressed with how well prepared Jackson was considering he’d spent the entirety of camp up to this point on defense, and it was something that USC wide receivers coach Tee Martin credited, in part, to Jackson’s high football IQ.
“It’s his intelligence,” Martin said. “Great football players are some of the smartest players out there. They aren’t just physically better than everybody else. That’s rare. Most of the time the great players are also some of the smartest players, and in his case he’s extremely, extremely intelligent. And, physically, he has a lot of God-given talent, but I don’t think he could play as fast and do the things that he’s doing if he wasn’t really smart.”
Cope-Fitzpatrick won’t play this fall
Sarkisian announced following practice that redshirt-junior tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick will not suit up for the Trojans this season
“Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is going to focus on his academics this fall and will not be joining the team until the spring,” Sarkisian said.
Cope-Fitzpatrick missed the 2014 season due to academics, and while he did participate in spring drills, he had been noticeably absent from the team’s summer volunteer workouts as well as the entirety of fall camp up to this point.
With Bryce Dixon currently not on the team, Connor Spears and Tyler Petite have taken the majority of the reps with the No. 1 offense at tight throughout most of camp, with graduate-transfer Taylor McNamara joining the mix over the last few practice sessions and making a strong impression as of late.
– Defensive lineman Claude Pelon did not practice due to a right knee sprain. Sarkisian said the knee will get scoped tomorrow, and that the senior could be sidelined, “a little bit of time.”
– Also on the defensive line, Jordan Simmons did not participate in practice due to swelling in his knee. It’s the same knee that he injured in 2013.
– Placekicker Matt Boermeester (hip flexor) and linebacker Lamar Dawson (ribs) also did not participate in practice.
– Cornerback Kevon Seymour suited up and took part in some early drills, but he appeared to be limited, and he came up limping at one point during a 7-on-7 period.
– Linebacker Quinton Powell suited up but appeared to be limited, as did defensive lineman Rasheem Green.
– Offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao and defensive lineman Noah Jefferson returned to practice and took part in the entire session. Talamaivao went with the No. 2 offense at right guard.
– Running back Justin Davis went to the sideline late with what Sarkisian said was an injured finger.
News and notes
– With Jackson spending the day on offense, and Seymour still limited, USC’s primary starting cornerbacks were Jonathan Lockett and Iman Marshall, with Chris Hawkins spending his time at both cornerback and safety with the No. 1 group.
– Greg Townsend Jr. took Pelon’s place at defensive end with the No. 1 defense alongside Antwaun Woods and Delvon Simmons.
– USC’s starting offensive line unit at the beginning of practice consisted of Chad Wheeler at LT, Damien Mama at LG, Max Tuerk at C, Toa Lobendahn at RG and Zach Banner at RT. Chris Brown also took some reps with the No. 1 group at RG, with Lobendahn sliding over to LT in place of Wheeler.
– Freshman Porter Gustin took some reps with the No. 1 defense at rush end, and he had another strong showing, picking up at least two tackles for loss, including one sack.
– Another freshman, safety Ykili Ross, had a nice interception during a red zone period on a pass thrown by Max Browne.
– Wyatt Schmidt took all of the reps during a late placekicking period, connecting on 3 of 5 attempts.
– Tre Madden ran behind Wheeler and Lobedahn for a gain of 12 or 13 yards before Olajuwon Tucker made the stop.
– Madden ran outside for a gain of five yards.
– Kessler hit Jackson deep down the middle over Marvell Tell for an 80-yard TD.
– Gustin got in the backfield in a hurry and dropped Justin Davis for a loss.
– Kessler hit McNamara over the middle for a gain of close to 10 yards.
– Matt Lopes came up to stop Dominic Davis for no gain.
– Cameron Smith sacked Max Browne.
– Sam Darnold connected outside to Deontay Burnett for a gain of close to 15 yards.
– D. Davis broke off a long run outside, but then John Plattenburg put a nice hit on the freshman and forced the fumble.
– D. Simmons tackled J. Davis for a loss.
– Ronald Jones II bounces outside and scores on a nine-yard touchdown.
– Jones weaved his way for an eight-yard gain.
– Kessler hit Jackson with a quick pass outside, and with Lobendahn leading the way, he ran in for a 10-yard touchdown.
– J. Davis ran behind Tuerk and Mama for a six-yard TD.
– Jackson ran for a six-yard TD.
– D. Davis ran for a three-yard TD.
– Jabari Ruffin dropped Jones for a loss.
– Michael Hutching with a big hit on Jones after a two-yard gain.
– Woods and Co. stop Aca’Cedric Ware for no gain.
– James Toland IV bounced outside for a one-yard TD.
– Kesslr hit Jackson outside for a seven-yard gain.
– Tyler Petite reached up high to pull down a 20-yard pass from Kessler.
– Kessler tried to hit De’Quan Hampton up the middle, but Hawkins was there to break up the play.
– Browne connected with Hampton for a 20-yard touchdown over Lockett.
– Darnold hit Robby Kolanz outside for a gain of close to 10 yards before John Houston Jr. made the stop.
– Darnold hit George Katrib over the middle for a gain of 10 yards.
– Kessler found Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown.
– Kessler hit Steven Mitchell Jr. in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard TD.
– Townsend sacked Kessler.
– Kessler hit Jackson outside for a 10-yard TD.
– Kessler hit JuJu Smith-Schuster in the back of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown with Marshall in coverage.
– Browne connected with Isaac Whitney for a 20-yard touchdown over Jalen Jones.
– Browne hit Darreus Rogers over John Plattenburg for a 15-yard TD.
– Browne went back to Rogers for a 10-yard TD.
– Browne threw to the end zone, but Ykili Ross where there to make the interception.
– Kessler hit Smith-Schuster for a gain of 15 yards before Marshall made the stop.
– Hawkins had a big hit on J. Davis to stop the run for no gain.
– J. Davis made a nice cut at the line and picked up 12 yards before Leon McQuay III made the stop.
– Jones picked up 20 or 25 yards after bouncing outside.
– Kenny Bigelow stopped Jones for no gain.
– Ware ran up the middle for 10 yards.
– Darnold hit Jalen Greene deep along the sideline for a 60-yard-plus TD.
– Gustin and Co. sacked Kessler.
– Madden ran outside for a 10-yard TD.