Spring camp rolled on Tuesday for the USC football team as they hit the field once again, with only five practices left. This was their first practice after last Saturday’s scrimmage, which saw a less-than-impressive offensive showing. Much of today’s practice was devoted to fixing Friday’s mistakes, especially from the quarterbacks.
The scrimmage last week should have provided some much needed clarity on the quarterback depth chart. Instead, the disappointing performances of the prospective quarterbacks only raised more questions about the group’s future.
“[The quarterbacks] were getting their eyes on the right spot,” head coach Clay Helton said about Saturday’s scrimmage. “They were just needing to get the ball out a little bit quicker.”
Redshirt freshman Jack Sears had an especially rough outing, throwing two interceptions and struggling to connect on most of his passes.
Redshirt sophomore Matt Fink was steadier, throwing no picks and completing many of his passes, yet he remained unspectacular, not taking shots down the field or attempting difficult throws.
“We got a long way to go,” new quarterback coach Bryan Ellis said. “There were some positives, but when you come out and turn the ball over that many times, we’re not gonna win games doing that.”
Ellis was more pleased with the passers’ progress on the field on Tuesday, though he still sees plenty of room for improvement.
“We came out here and got a little better today,” Ellis said.
Senior “predator” linebacker Porter Gustin continued his strong spring as he returns from the toe injury that kept him out for most of last season.
Helton pointed out that “[Gustin] looks basically unblockable,” after he dominated offensive linemen for much of the day, including a would-be sack that would probably have sent the quarterback to the ER had it been a real game.
Standout junior wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. returned to practice after missing time last week due to a shoulder injury. After practice, Pittman proclaimed that his shoulder “has never been better,” going on to describe the injury as only a minor stinger.
Pittman has had a solid spring camp, likely cementing his role as a starting receiver opposite redshirt sophomore Tyler Vaughns.
“I’ve been adding more to my route running,” Pittman said. “Before, I kinda relied on my physicality, and now I feel like I’m trying to be more of a route runner so I can add that to my tool box.”
Redshirt sophomore running back Vavae Malepeai performed well in practice, as he returns from a few minor injuries that have nagged him for the past week. He impressed in the run segments of practice, showing his normal power and burst.
Senior offensive tackle Chuma Edoga was pulled from practice due to a lower back injury, while junior linebacker Jordan Iosefa suffered a knee injury and needed to be pulled from the field. Helton mentioned that Iosefa’s injury did not seem major.