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Recap: USC’s First Fall Practice

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Looking into what Clay Helton had to say about his team’s performance

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Southern California Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Trojans have now returned to the practice fields following their brutal summer conditioning, looking ahead to five more weeks of preparation (28 practices) until their first week matchup against Western Michigan. Let’s breakdown what head coach Clay Helton had to say about his team’s first fall camp performance.

Takeaways:

Depth

Coach Helton highlighted the overall depth of the team, singling out both the offensive and defensive line. This is particularly good news to hear because of the depth concerns for the Oline, given they lost three starters and have multiple players returning from injury. He was impressed with both their size and athleticism, which should be a really good sign for Trojan fans moving forward. Helton also added that this kind of depth signifies how incredibly healthy his team is.

Speed

Helton was very impressed with the overall speed of his team and just how fast the Trojans worked today in practice. However, he doesn’t just mean flat out speed, we already know USC has some of the best and fastest athletes in the country. Rather, he’s talking along the lines of fluidity. As he pointed out, players are now into the second year of both offensive and defensive schemes, thus moving better through the system having almost mastered it. With the players hard work in memorizing film and positioning, they are now able to move naturally and unraveling the raw athlete in them. Two keywords to leave here with: fast and fluid.

Underclassmen

Helton made sure to highlight both the incoming freshman and sophomores on their performance today. He included that following the freshman’s impressive summer, they still came in ready to work. A keyword he used to describe them is humble. That’s always a word we love to hear about our teams. He also was happy to see the significant strides sophomores had made from year one to year two. Most of them look more than ready to contribute and should succeed given the year of experience under their belt.

Key Injuries:

S Matt Lopes: Toe, out (expected: one week away)

OL Frank Martin: tweaked hamstring, day-to-day

Out indefinitely: LB Tayler Katoa (knee), OT Nathan Smith (ACL)

Favorite Quote: “We’re not a satisfied bunch, we’re not a comfortable bunch right now, we may have accomplished some things last year but we didn’t win a Pac-12 championship and that’s gotta be our goal,”-Clay Helton

Although there is still plenty of work to be done, Helton and his staff are already blown away by the scheme and speed of this talented team.