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What stood out at Tuesday practice

by Garry Paskwietz

  • Sam Darnold had what you would call a standout day, and it was recognized when Clay Helton said it was the best practice for Darnold this spring. The drill where he really stood out was a team drill with 11 on 11 (team was in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts today). Max Browne got things started and looked solid with completions to Ajene Harris (photo above) and Deontay Burnett. Then Sam came in and hit several passes, a zip to De’Quan Hampton on the sideline, one down the seam to Mitchell and then a crossing route to Darreus Rogers. I thought the best throw he made came in a tight window on a deep slant to Burnett. I want to be clear, it’s not like Max Browne looked bad, Max had a good day as well, but Sam just had a little something today.
  • Speaking of Max, he was the QB for the 2-min drill at the end which served as the competition period. His first throw was a beauty, an out pattern to Daniel Imatorbhebhe on the sideline. He also completed a nice one to Tyler Petite. But it was the defense who won the competition period with a Malik Dorton sack, pressure from Rasheem Green which forced an incompletion, and a pair of incompletions due to good coverage by Iman Marshall.
  • Rasheem Green also had a nice TFL in the team drill when he got in the backfield and stopped Justin Davis for a loss.
  • Good to see Osa Masina on the field, even if it was in very limited action. He took reps as the 2nd unit OLB behind Porter Gustin. Jabari Ruffin had been in that spot previously but Jabari moved to the OLB spot opposite Gustin today with the first team as Uchenna Nwosu was out with a sprained knee, and he’s expected back later this week.
  • Steven Mitchell made a real nice catch in early drills on a deep pass from Browne when he had to adjust and turn his body while the ball was in the air, and he came down with the catch.
  • Helton addressed the issue of balls being spread around among the receivers, as opposed to past years where it seemed one receiver was the focal point, “we want our quarterbacks beating coverages rather than looking for one guy, that’s what we want”. He said it diplomatically while praising previous coaches like Kiffin for what he did with Robert Woods and Marqise Lee but his words also left no doubt about what his strategy will be.

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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