USC football spring ball is underway as the Trojans were back on Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field today for the first of 15 practices that will be held through mid-April.
What always makes the first day of spring so fun is to see where everybody is lining up, are there any position changes, how do the new guys look, there is just a lot to digest on day one, so here we go.
The first person we see coming through Goux Gate is JuJu Smith-Schuster, with a photographer alongside him documenting his day. Velus Jones is lining up at tailback in walk-throughs, as is Dominic Davis. Apparently Vavae Malepeai has a hammy issue and won’t be back until after spring break. Clayton Johnston is taking first team reps at LT ahead of Austin Jackson and Clay Helton says afterwards that everybody will take reps with the 1’s during camp, even walk-on QB Holden Thomas.
No Marvell Tell in action, he’s dressed but is dealing with a groin issue and will be back after spring break. Man, Caleb Tremblay is a big guy. Great to also see Porter Gustin out there, he was limited in drills (no surprise there) but Helton said he set the tone.
Jack Sears hit Michael Pittman with a deep pass and Jay Godfrey claimed that Pittman held him (it looked like he did) but the play stood. Sears completed a curl pattern to Josh Imatorbhebhe who turned upfield for a nice gain. Fink hit Pittman with a crossing pattern and gave a nice fist fump. I thought Fink looked pretty sharp today, and Sears had his moments too, but if you’re talking day 1 it was definitely a Fink day.
Reuben Peters was at linebacker and took 2nd team reps behind Cameron Smith, and Levi Jones was lined up next to him. Tayler Katoa, Greg Johnson and Jay Godfrey were all back on the field after missing time last season with injuries.
A couple things that were different from previous practices last year is that there was no water break taken 2/3’rds of the way through practice like we’ve seen the last two years, and the team did a series of up/down sprints at the end of the day. “We have full numbers and we want to make it a hard camp”, Helton said.
Here are the injury updates and other roster news from Helton:
Cole Smith (medical retirement, will stay on as student coach)
Nathan Smith (medical retirement, will stay on as student coach)
Jalen Greene (looking to be a grad transfer as a QB)
Roy Hemsley (looking to be a grad transfer, ASU)
Jack Jones (will sit out this spring for academics, is suspended for opener vs UNLV)
Jamel Cook (will focus on academics this spring while exploring transfer)
Joseph Lewis (suspended from all team activities, student conduct)
Oluwole Betiku (will miss spring after hip surgery)
Stephen Carr (will miss spring after back surgery)
Daniel Imatorbhebhe (will sit out spring to rehab previous injury)
Marlon Tuipulotu (will sit out spring to rehab back)
Toa Lobendahn (knee, will be held out until after spring)
Frank Martin ((knee, will be held out until after spring))
Vavae Malepeai (hamstring, will sit out until after spring)
“It makes you smile to see Porter Gustin putting in work. He’s on a mission” – Clay Helton
“We have great depth. We may not have superstars but we have depth” – Helton
“This is an opportunity for both Matt and Jack to show us their recall, to go out there and run the offense, move the ball and score points. That’s what we’re looking for” – Tee Martin
“The coaches just want us to get better in spring, that’s all we can control, it’s about understanding the offense” – Jack Sears
“The coaches want me to take on more of a leadership role, and I thought that felt comfortable out there today” – Matt Fink
“Spring is an educational period. Do we evaluate tape? Yes, but we don’t have to have a depth chart until August so right now we’re just focusing on getting better” – Helton
Depth Chart – this isn’t an absolute chart because there was a lot of moving pieces in the line-up but it’s a good look at where players were lining up.
QB: Matt Fink – Jack Sears
TB: Aca’Cedric Ware – Velus Jones – Dominic Davis
WR: Tyler Vaughns – Randal Grimes
WR: Michael Pittman – Josh Imatorbhebhe
WR: Trevon Sidney – Pie Young
TE: Tyler Petite – Josh Falo – Erik Krommenhoek
LT: Clayton Johnston – Austin Jackson
LG: Chris Brown – Jordan Austin
C: Brett Neilon – Justin Dedich
RG: Andrew Vorhees – Alijah Vera-Tucker
RT: Chuma Edoga – Jalen McKenzie
OLB: Juliano Falaniko – Kana’i Mauga
DT: Malik Dorton – Caleb Tremblay
NG: Brandon Pili – Jay Tufele
OLB: Porter Gustin – Hunter Echols
ILB: Cameron Smith – Reuben Peters
ILB: John Houston – Levi Jones
CB: Iman Marshall – Greg Johnson
CB: Isaiah Langley – Jay Godfrey
CB: Ajene Harris – Jonathan Lockett
S: Bubba Bolden – C.J. Pollard
S: Ykili Ross – Isaiah Pola-Mao