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Spring Practice report (3-28)

There was a lot of situational work today at USC practice, particularly in the 2:00 minute drill with several of the young receivers having an opportunity to shine.

Tyler Vaughns continued his impressive play of late including a touchdown in a red zone drill when he went up high to make the catch, and he also held on to a ball on a crossing route after he took a hard pop from C.J. Pollard. Velus Jones added a touchdown against Marvell Tell, and Sam Darnold found Michael Pittman on a key fourth down play late in the day that put the offense in position for a field goal attempt.

“I thought the young wideouts had their best day of spring,” Clay Helton said. “I was really proud of the ‘light’ that went on today for them. I didn’t mention Tyler (Vaughns) after the scrimmage on Saturday but when I went back and watched film I saw that he made some nice plays. We’re starting to see some chemistry with Sam (Darnold) and Velus, and it was good to see the anticipation Sam showed to get the ball to Michael (Pittman) on a 4th-down play. I really believe that we’ll only go as far as the young wideouts take us on offense.”

The Trojans will continue building on the situational work later in the week with some 4:00-minute drill installation, and continued work for the reserves.

“We need to enhance our second unit and you’ll continue to see us get them more work,” Helton said.


There was some shuffling on the offensive line today as the coaches continue to look for the best combination of players in the starting line-up. We saw Roy Hemsley with the first unit at left guard, and Chris Brown at right tackle.

“This was something we had planned,” Helton said. “We basically wanted to use half the spring to look at them in one spot, and now we’ll spend the other half looking at this combination. It’s all about seeing what works, seeing how comfortable they are.”


Injury updates:

* Cam Smith was held out of practice with a stiff neck. Helton said “we’ll see how it goes” in terms of how long Smith will be held out. Jordan Iosefa went with the first unit in his place, with Grant Moore running with the 2’s.

* Dominic Davis is close to a return from academic issues and concussion symptoms that occurred while Dominic was playing basketball, according to Helton.

* Ronald Jones was held out with a big toe issue

* Tyler Petite was out with a shoulder


Highlight plays:

* There was some work on punt returns, with the returners including: Ykili Ross, Jackie Jones, Velus Jones, Isaiah Langley and Ajene Harris.

* Jackie Jones had a PBU in coverage against Pittman

* Tyler Vaughns caught a slant against Iman Marshall

* Deontay Burnett opened a 7-on-7 drill with a catch over the middle from Darnold but Chris Hawkins would have popped him in a live situation.

* Matt Fink hit Jackson Boyer with a 50-yard touchdown, and got a fist bump from Clay Helton afterwards for the nice throw

* Velus Jones went high against Tell in the end zone and came down with the ball for a 25-yard score.

* Fink hit Daniel Imatorbhebhe for a short TD (Daniel in yellow jersey)

* Darnold tried to hit Burnett deep but Tell knocked it away

* Fink threw to Josh Imatorbhebhe but Moore was in the right position for the pick, the ball was dropped.

* Fink had a long scramble down the right sideline.

* Vavae Malepeai with a nice run to get outside on the right side.

* Darnold was under pressure from Porter Gustin and threw the ball up to the sideline for Jalen Greene, who made the catch with a couple defenders draped over him.



Garry Paskwietz

A 1988 graduate of USC with a degree in Sports Information. Worked in sports marketing for LA Lakers and Miller Brewing Company. Began covering the Trojans in 1996 with the Trojan Football Fax. Founded WeAreSC in November 1998 with stints at Scout and ESPN. Emmy-winner while covering high school football at Fox Sports West.

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