The Trojans were back in full pads on Tuesday and we saw another live team run period with crowd noise piped in.
Coach Helton said he was pleased with the run period although there were several key players out of action including Austin Jackson and Andrew Vorhees on the o-line, Markese Stepp at tailback, along with Cameron Smith and Porter Gustin on defense.
The run period got started with Ced Ware taking a handoff and being met right away by Malik Dorton and John Houston for no gain. Ware got the next carry as well and it was a gang tackle from Brandon Pili, Marvel Tell and Jordan Iosefa, with Ware giving a push at Iosefa for what he thought was a late arrival. On the third carry, Ware broke through the middle of the line and went for a long gain. Vavae Malepeai was up next with a sweep to the right and he was brought down by Bubba Bolden after a short gain. On the next play Vavae was stripped from behind at the line by Malik Dorton and the ball was recovered by Raymond Scott. Stephen Carr went up the middle and was met by a solid wrap-up around the knees by Talanoa Hufanga. Christian Rector slid down the line to hold a Ware run to no gain, and Jay Tufele ended the drill with a quick stop on walk-on tailback Quincy Jountti.
During a placekicking drill there was a blocked kick by Jay Godfrey.
Next the ball was placed on the 40-yard line going toward the end zone. Christian Rector came in on the opening play for a sack on J.T. Daniels. Daniels rolled right and threw for Vaughns, the pass was incomplete but there was a penalty called on Marshall. J.T. threw a slant to Vaughns but Biggie had good position, incomplete. Daniels threw a screen to Vavae that was wide open and he went in for the touchdown. Matt Fink came in threw to the right flat for Devon Williams and a 10-yard gain vs Greg Johnson. Fink tried to throwback pass to Josh Falo but C.J. Pollard read it well and batted it away. Fink threw over the middle to Randal Grimes who beat Isaiah Pola-Mao for the touchdown.
The final drill of the day was a 4:00 drill that got started with a Ware run that Houston stopped after a short gain. Ware went for 4 yards before a tackle by Bolden. Vavae was stopped by Marlon Tuipulotu after no gain. Since the defense held without a first down that was the end of the drill, and the end of practice.
Injury update: Markese Stepp is going through concussion protocol as a precautionary measure. Andrew Vorhees is resting his knee this week after minor knee surgery in the off-season. Solomon Tuliaupupu recently had the last screw taken out of his foot after surgery last winter, he will start water treadmill work soon but is still a distance away.
In attendance: Keith Rivers and Terrell Thomas.
QB competition update: Helton said he will sit down after the Saturday scrimmage to “see where we’re at”. He also said he and Bryan Ellis met with each QB after last Saturday’s scrimmage to let them know where they stand so far in camp.
Clancy Pendergast on Greg Johnson. Helton had said after the Monday practice that Johnson is playing at a high level and is pushing Isaiah Langley for a starting spot. Here are Pendergast’s thoughts on where Johnson is at right now:
“He’s a really smart football player. You rarely have to tell him something more than one time for him to understand things. I’m excited to see how he plays once the lights come on because I think he’s got a bright future. We’re a production-based defense and he’s produced. He’s very coachable, I like his skill set, he does the things we’ve asked him to do and I’ve seen him get better. He’s been consistent in camp and that’s allowed him to get some reps with the first unit.”