Notes & Observations: USC Fall Camp Day 4 (8/7)

August 7, 2018

Today the defense put on a show in front of scouts from the 49ers, Bears, Chargers, and Browns. Between the pressure from the strong defensive line and great coverage from the defensive backs, the quarterbacks were put in very difficult positions during the scrimmage session. 

Practice began with Clay Helton giving a hands on coaching session regarding special teams punt blocking. Special Teams seems to be getting more attention this camp which is certianly a good thing after a rather dismal performance last season. 


The Trojans then shifted to an early scrimmage, mainly working on two minute drives and special scenarios. Here's how that went down:

Fink throws the ball 8 yards down the field to Tyler Vaughns. Isaiah Langley immediately stopped him. 

Fink hands the ball off to Vavae for a 6 yard gain.

Fink finds  Josh Falo 8 yards down the field but Marvell Tell breaks the pass up.

Fink runs a play action and then hit a screen pass to Tyler Vaughns who rushes for a 25 yard TD.

Sears throws short to Stephen Carr who breaks free for an 11 yard gain.

Sears throws short to Velus Jones for an 8 yard gain.

Carr rushes for a 4 yard gain.

Sears rushes for a 6 yard gain. 

Sears rushes for no gain.


The Trojans then broke up into position groups before going back to scrimmaging. Here are the results from the next scrimmage:

Fink throws a 40 yard bomb to Trevon Sidney who out jumps Ajene Harris for the reception.

Fink hits Vaughns on a short scurl route. Greg Johnson immediately stopped him. 

Sears overthrows Velus Jones, 15 yards down the field, who is covered by Chase Williams.

Daniels makes another great, 35 yard, over the shoulder pass to Devon Williams for a TD.

Daniels hits Pie Young, who runs a slant route. Ajene Harris stops Pie immediately. 

Daniels throws another over the shoulder pass to Tyler Vaughns for a TD.

Fink makes a nice 30 yard pass to Michael Pittman, who can't hang on to the ball.

Sears misses Josh Imatorbhebhe who is tightly covered by Olaijah Griffin. Olaijah had a much better day today. 

Sears hits Velus 20 yards down the filed. Sears threw the ball over Chase Williams in a very tight window. 

Sears misses Vaughns who is bodied up by Greg Johnson. Greg Johnson really stepped up today.

Daniels hits Pie Young but Ajene Harris knocks the ball out. 

Fink rolls out and hits Pittman for a TD, Biggie was in coverage.

Fink hands the ball of to Velus Jones on jet sweep. NO GAIN

Vavae rushes for a 3 yard gain. 

Sears hands the ball off to Stephen Carr who gets an 11 yard gain.

Sears hands the ball off to Carr who is quickly bottled up by Jay Tufele. Jay had a nice today in the trenches. 

Sears hands the ball off to Markese Stepp who is tackled but continues run through Bubba Bolden. This was Stepp making an effort to shut Bolden up. 

Daniels runs a flea flicker. The pass was intended to Pittman but Marvell Tell breaks it up. It was a relatively short field to run a flea flicker.

Daniels hands off a jet sweep to Josh Imatorbhebhe for NO GAIN

Daniels throws downfield but the ball is tipped at the line. Offensive Guard Chris Brown makes a nice catch and turns the deflection into an 8 yard gain.

Daniels throws short to Falo who waltzes in for a TD.

Fink, on an option play, runs for 3 yards before being stopped by Lockett/Mauga

Fink hands off to Carr for no real gain. Mauga stopped the run. Kana'i Mauga is impressively holding his weight as a true Freshman.

Fink hands the ball off to a walk on running back. Jay Tufele stops him immediately. 

Fink  hands the ball off to Devon Williams on a jet sweep. This was a rare ocassion where the Jet Sweep actually worked and it wasn't because Devon had space. He had to fight for every inch on his way for a 6 yard td.

Sears hands the ball off to Ced War who is stopped by Porter Gustin for no gain.

Sears hands the ball off to Vavae for an 8 yard gain. 

Sears fumbles a low snap from Toa Lobendahn. Toa had a better day but still needs to improve. Working with 3 different QB's could be throwing him off.

Sears hands the ball off to Ware who gains 4 yards.

Daniels hands the ball off to Vavae who is tackled by Elijah Winston for a two yard gain. 

Daniels hits St. Brown in endzone but the pass is knocked out by CJ Pollard.

Daniels hits Pittman for a 6 yard gain, Greg Johnson made the tackle.

Daniels hands the ball off to Carr who pushes for a 5 yard gain.

Brown NO GOOD from 30
Brown good from 40
#38 good from 30
#38 no good from 40
Brown no good from 37
Brown good from 40
#38 good from 37
#38 good from 40
Jake Olson came on the field for the next two snaps.
Brown good from 21.
Brown good from 21.

We are not sure why Chase McGrath didn't kick today.

The team then worked on Kick Returns. Greg Johnson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Stephen Carr, Dom Davis, Velus Jones, and Tyler Vaughns were the returners today.

Based off today, I would have Greg Johnson as the main Kick Returner. 


The team went back to scrimmaging to end practice. Here are the results:

Fink rolls out and is sacked by Brandon Pili.

Fink hits Pittman who curls in for a 7 yard gain. Biggie was in coverage.

Fink hits  Vaughns 11 yards down the field but Isaiah Langley breaks it up.

Sears throws the ball 30 yards down the field to Tyler Vaughns. The pass was underthrown but Vaughns recovered and climbed the ladder to make a one handed grab before Isaiah Langley knocked the ball out. 

Sears to Josh Imatorbhebhe for a 5 yard gain.

Sears goes long to Velus Jones but Greg Johnson reels in the interception.

Daniels throws  short to St Brown but CJ Pollard stops him immediately for no gain. 

Daniels hits Devon Williams on a short throw. Devon then breaks Olaijah Griffin's tackle to gain 5 yards.

Daniels is sacked by Palaie Gaoteote.

Fink misses Ced Ware on the screen pass.

Fink airs it out to Velus Jones but Ajene Harris knocks it up.

Sears misses a screen pass and Biggie Marshall feasts upon the throw for a Pick 6.

Sears is sacked by Caleb Tremblay.

Sears throws short but the ball is tipped at the line. Not sure who tipped it.

Daniels hits Petite for a 6 yard gain.

Daniels rolls out on a play action to  find Falo for about an 8 yard gain.

Daniels throws short but it’s tipped down by Langley. This was a play that could've been picked off but the velocity on throw made that very difficult.

Fink sacked by Juliano Falaniko. 

Justin Dedich undersnaps the ball for a fumble. Once agian, the QB rotation may be throwing the snappers off. 
Fink throws a long ball to Devon Williams for a nice gain. 
Fink rolls out passes to Devon Williams who can’t hang on.


Highlight of the day was clearly the defensive performance on all fronts. Both in the trenches and in the secondary, USC showed off their defensive depth as a ton of guys made big plays today.

The area of improvemnt has to be the offensive line. In order to make this offense pop, the quarterbacks need more time than they are getting now. While it is true that USC's defensive line is a dominant unit, I expect to see more from the offensive line as camp moves on.

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