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What stood out from Thursday practice

by Garry Paskwietz

* The first item of note today from practice is the status of Kenny Bigelow, who left the field after suffering a right knee injury during a physical run drill and did not return. Clay Helton said there will be an MRI done tonight. All the best for Kenny with the results.

* As for the rest of practice, it was a special day. The Trojans were in full pads and things were very spirited as the team gets ready for a scrimmage on Saturday at the Coliseum.

* The drill that Kenny got hurt in took place with the offense backed up in their end, with a constant stream of run plays and only a few pass plays mixed in. The first play was a run by Ronald Jones, who had the ball stripped and Marvell Tell picked it up and went into the end zone.

* The biggest hit of the drill came from Olajuwon Tucker who met Aca’Cedric Ware straight up at the line for no gain.

* Ronald Jones broke off the highlight run of the drill when he turned the corner on the left side and sprinted for a long touchdown.

* Other good plays were Rasheem Green getting into the backfield to stop a Jones run and Sam Darnold executing a play action pass to hit Daniel Imatorbhebhe with a deep pass.

* Later in the day there was an OL/DL pass rush drill and Clay Helton was right in the middle of it while being very vocal. The OL won the day in the drill, and Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler celebrated when the drill was done by giving their version of a “leaping” chest bump.

* The highlight of the day, in my opinion, was the competition period at the end of the day. It was all 3rd and 2 run plays. One the first rep it was Justin Davis off the right side for the conversion. Banner started calling out the defense “we’re going to do it again, same play!” and they ran with Davis again. On the next play Quinton Powell tried to read the snap count on a blitz but he got absolutely stonewalled by Damien Mama and knocked back. Helton said “I got after Zach’s butt for that outburst. I love the passion but I want to see a quiet confidence. This is a veteran offensive line, they should be able to do that”. Helton said the purpose of a drill like that is to instill the ability to run the ball when you must, like the Trojans did to finish off games against Cal and UCLA last fall.

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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