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USC Football Practice Quick Hits, 8/28

Observations, notes, quotes, photos and interviews from earlier this week.

Since practices were closed the last two days, we weren't able to supply you guys with the normal practice notes. We've also been swamped with a couple of other USC football stories that have seemed to grab national headlines.

Maybe you've heard that SuperShaw wasn't quite such a superhero but more a super liar? Or how about the fourth-string running back who no longer wants to be on the team because he feels the head coach doesn't like his skin color?

But we wanted to assure you that there was indeed some football being practiced this week even if no one has actually talked about anything between the lines. So here are some quick notes, interviews and photos from the practices we were able to attend earlier this week:

Tuesday Practice Quick Hits

  • The Trojan is finally visible. For the first time this fall, USC's helmets featured the Trojan decal. No longer will the players be wearing blank cardinal helmets. Now they are locked and loaded with the full Trojan insignia.
  • George Farmer made a really nice adjustment on a 50+ yard completion during a 7-on-7 segment. Farmer, who was running up the left hash, had the defender beat by a good step and a half, but instead of the throw leading him up the open middle of the field, it was to the outside. Like an outfielder going back on a deep fly, Farmer turned over his outside shoulder, relocated the ball and then high pointed it over the defender before falling on his back.
  • That throw for Farmer was at least a good 50-yard chuck on the fly from Max Browne. But Browne also showed off his touch and timing later on a touchdown snag by Bryce Dixon in a redzone drill. Rolling to his right on a broken play, Browne saw a crossing Dixon, but waited until he cleared a floating linebacker and then found the window to the big freshman target running toward the front pylon. Dixon made the grab and waltz into the end zone.
  • With Josh Shaw out, Chris Hawkins' role increases. But a more lasting effect could be on which defensive backs redshirt and which do not. In his post-practice presser, head coach Steve Sarkisian said "It really pushes Adoree' [Jackson] to the forefront. It pushes Jon Lockett to the forefront and Lamont Simmons has to be ready to play." Previously, we predicted cornerback Lamont Simmons would be one of the freshman to redshirt this year that way he'd have an opportunity to bulk up and grow into his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame.

Wednesday Practice Quick Hits

  • On Tuesday, practice was sluggish to begin with. Whether it was because it was the first day of practice following class or the Josh Shaw cloud knows. Regardless, the tempo had taken a hit, but on Wednesday it was ramped back up and there seemed to be more energy on the field.
  • There has been a ton of great competition on the outside between the wide receivers and the cornerbacks this fall, but on Wednesday it was Darreus Rogers getting the best of Johnathan Lockett. Rogers made a great catch on a fly route that drew rave reviews from the offensive side of the ball.
  • The defensive line stalled the run in team 11-on-11. If the fearsome foursome of Leonard Williams, Antwaun Woods, Delvon Simmons and Claude Pelon stay healthy, they will create a lot of havoc for opposing teams.
  • But it should be noted, the defensive line's success came against James Toland IV, who got a lot of carries in practice. Buck Allen was held to a very light workload and Tre Madden watched practice under the brim of a black fisherman's bucket hat while he tries to recover from his turf toe injury.

Zach Banner Video Interview

Earlier this week, Zach Banner said he's been waiting a long time for the opportunity to play for USC.

"This is something you dream about your whole life."

Banner talked about the mentality that has pushed him into the starting role and said he's "faster, stronger and more athletic," but that he has to keep improving himself.

Watch the entire interview and see why Banner still thinks of himself as a rookie:

Ajene Harris Video Interview

Before the Josh Shaw story unfolded and then Anthony Brown tried to take the spotlight, all eyes were on the first USC depth chart, which was released Sunday. Among the interesting things was that high school quarterback turned wide receiver Ajene Harris had been named a starter as a true freshman.

Earlier this week, Harris talked being named a starter, his transition to receiver and how previously being a quarterback has helped him excel at a position he hasn't played since Pop Warner football:

Steve Sarkisian Thursday Presser

With practice closed yesterday, the only updates came from head coach Steve Sarkisian during his post-practice media scrum. How does Josh Shaw's suspension affect the team?

"I think it makes us younger quite honestly," Sarkisian said. "You go from a fifth-year senior to maybe playing another freshman, so our youth shows itself a little bit more."

Sarkisian said the Trojans will have to rely more on the guys that have experience in Kevon Seymour, Leon McQuay III and Su'a Cravens. Here's Sarkisian's full chat with the assembled media: