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O/NSO: Unofficial public practice opening day edition

The Obvious: The 2018 USC Trojans, ranked No. 15 in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, will open fall practice on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. on Howard Jones/Brian Kennedy Fields, and the only thing missing will be the general public, which won’t allowed to attend training camp or regular season practices unless given permission by the athletic department.

The Not So Obvious: The official explanation for the closed training camp policy: An NCAA rule makes August a recruiting dead period, so practices during fall training camp must be closed to the public, except invited guests of the USC athletic department.  Once USC begins game week-type practices (beginning Aug. 21), practices will be closed to the public, except invited guests of the USC athletic department.” However, what would the first day of practice look like to fans if they were allowed to attend Friday’s practice and what would they say? The O/NSO has the answers.

 The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding the quarterback competition.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “J.T. Daniels reminds me of John David Booty but better,” a reference to the former Trojans’ quarterback who came out of Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana, in much the same manner as Daniels.

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding the Trojans’ linebacking corps.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “If Porter Gustin can stay healthy, he’ll be compared to Jack Del Rio or maybe a Brian Cushing,” a reference to the Trojans’ former All-America linebackers.

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding how nice and green the practice field looks.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Yeah, the grass looks good, but I want to be reassured that everybody will be wearing the same socks and football shoes and not making individual fashion statements. I am old school.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding the offensive line.

The Not So Obvious: One of the observers would say, “How good could this offensive line be if Hudson Houck was coaching it?” This a reference to one of the greatest offensive line coaches in USC history and one of the NFL’s all-time great O-line mentors.

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding how to get the Trojans’ offensive line to be more physical.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would have said, “They need to do more hitting. Coach McKay would do that! Something that all the former great Trojans’ football coaches did in national title runs.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding how good is senior All-America candidate Cameron Smith and where does he rank among the greats?

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Well, I’ll tell you how good Smith was when he was a kid. He played youth football against eighth graders…when he was in fourth grade!”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding how large the attendance will be for the Trojans’ season opener against UNLV for a 1 p.m. (PDT) Coliseum kickoff.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Trust me, the number of heat stroke could exceed last season’s day opener with Western Michigan. A bigger question may be how many fans will leave at halftime because they can’t take the heat?”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding the proper pronunciation of freshmen names.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Can you guys pronounce the name of linebacker Palaie Gaoteote?” FYI, according to the Trojans 2018 Media Guide, the name is officially pronounced nah-OE-tay-Oe-tay, pa-la-EE-ae.

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding some name trivia.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “What’s the real first names of TE Tyler Petite, S C.J. Pollard, OLB Jordan Isosefa, S Bubba Bolden, and QB JT Daniels?” The answers: John, Christopher, Loveni, Damuzhea, and Jonathan Tyler, respectively.

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding new tight ends and slot receivers coach Keary Colbert.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “It’s only a matter of time until Colbert takes over the entire wide receiver responsibility,”and “Give Helton a lot of credit for bringing Keary onto the coach staff.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding first-year Running Game and Pass Protection Coordinator/Running Backs coach Tim Drevno.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Drevno will take over for Neil Callaway as line coach if Callaway hangs it up after this season,”and “Drevno will have a bigger impact on the Trojans physical running attack that many people realize.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’ practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding the Coliseum renovation.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “I’ve seen pictures of it and it’s even more imposing when you just look at the thing physically and not the early art work.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding true freshman receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “If St. Brown isn’t part of the rotation, it will be one of the great mysteries of Trojan lore. He reminds me of Kevin “Bug” Williams and will be a perfect complement to Tyler Vaughns.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding true freshmen.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Boy, there is some real talent in safety Talanoa Hufanga and outside linebacker Kana’i Mauga. Those guys are going to see playing time. Hufanga reminds me of Troy Polamalu.”Of course, another bystander will say, “Come on, let’s be real. Hufanga is going to be really good, but there was only one Troy Polamalu.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding whether the Trojans will ever use a fullback again in our lifetime.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “I don’t care what they run on offense, but when they get inside the five, I want a fullback and mine would be Sam “Bam” Cunningham.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding yet another road game in Texas.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Well, buddy, you’d better bring some cool clothes because Texas, especially Austin, will be hot, hot, hot, and don’t discount some humidity. But I guess that the game is being played at night, which should provide some relief? No?”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding who will actually be calling the offensive plays in 2018.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “They say it will again be a committee, beginning with OC Tee Martin. However, if I had my choice, I’d bring back Norm Chow at least as a consultant.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding the age (29) and experience of first-year quarterback coach Bryan Ellis.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Let’s give ‘the kid’ a shot. Let’s see what he can do.”Another will ask, “Do you think that Clay Helton will even consider hiring Jordan Palmer in the future to be the QB coach?”This a reference to Sam Darnold’smentor – not to mention J.T. Daniels, as well.

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding the Trojans potentially talented defensive line.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “The D-line kids I want to see in action are Jay Tufele and the freshman kid Trevor Trout from Missouri.”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding sophomore left tackle Austin Jackson.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Well, I must be getting really old when I can say I saw both Melvin Jackson and now grandson Austin. Does that make me a dinosaur?”

The Obvious: If the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding academics.

The Not So Obvious: One of the public observers would say, “Do you know that this team has seven Trojans that have already earned their bachelor’s degree? Yeah, how ‘bout guard Jordan Austin, D-liner Malik Dorton, DB Ajene Harris, punter Reid Budrovich, holder-snapper Wyatt Schmidt, and punter Chris Tilbey.”

The Obvious: And finally, if the general public was allowed to watch Friday’s practice, there’d be a lot of discussion regarding how hot Friday afternoon was, and “I should have worn more sunscreen.”

The Not So Obvious: One of the observer comments would say, “To hell with the heat, nothing could keep me away from training camp…unless we were banned.”



Greg Katz
Author
Greg Katz

Katz started off at WeAreSC in the early 2000's with his "Obvious-Not-So Obvious" column, and is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America.


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