2014 Spring Practice #6: Notes

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For the first time this spring, the Trojans enjoyed the spacious confines of the Coliseum.
  • With a couple hundred USC fans in attendance, the Trojans put on a decent show highlighted by a perfect 65-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kessler to Nelson Agholor, which drew a roar from the crowd.
  • Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 3.52.36 PM.pngOn the defensive side, "It looked like today was our first day of live tackling," said head coach Steve Sarkisian. "Guys were a little sloppy when it came down to fundamentals and technique."
  • The offense certainly appeared to win the day as Agholor was a prolific force.  "Nelson is a really good player," said Sarkisian. "He is a dynamic football player. I've been very impressed by him."
  • Agholor was in full flight today with a little boost from the Coliseum atmosphere. "When you label it scrimmage, it just gives it more of a game atmosphere," he admitted. "When you're out here, it's so much more juice. You get to celebrate a little bit."
  • Agholor and Kessler have developed tremendous chemistry on the field, and the junior quarterback was particularly sharp today. "Cody's got a really quick release, tremendous arm strength and he's really accurate down the field," said Sarkisian.  The head coach is emphasizing "anticipation of throws" as the next step in his development.
  • Max Browne struggled at times today, including throwing an interception to Kevon Seymour, and some separation is starting to show. "Cody has gotten better every day. Max is improving as well, but maybe not at the rapid pace that Cody has been so far," Sarkisian assessed after two weeks of spring.
  • The running backs were able to face some live contact today, and Tre Madden stood out with his smooth and powerful running style.  In this run-first offense, there should be plenty of carries for arguably the deepest unit on the roster.  "Whoever plays us should be worried.  We've got monsters in the backfield," said Agholor about the running back corps. "If I was the coach, I would feed them also because when you have a great run game, the pass game opens up even more."
  • As of today, the starting offensive line features RT Zach Banner, LT Chad Wheeler, OGs Khaliel Rodgers and Toa Lobendahn, and C Max Tuerk. The biggest surprise in the group might be Banner who is coming back from surgery on both hips. "I can't tell you enough how good it feels, one, to be out here with the team, but two, to be out here with a new body," said Banner. "I don't know how to explain it. I feel no pain."
  • At 6-foot-9 and 350 pounds, Banner is half man, half mountain, but he wants to trim down to 320 pounds. "I obviously have to get in shape," he said. "I love what I am looking like right now, but I also know what I want to look like in the future."
  • Speaking of big men, NG Antwaun Woods is emerging as the breakout defensive star of spring ball. "Antwaun is arguably playing as good as anyone on the field at nose," said Sarkisian.
  • PK Andre Heidari was rock solid today drilling a 51-yard field goal.
  • Buffalo Bills WR Robert Woods (pictured) attended practice with NFL Draft prospects Marqise Lee, Devon Kennard, Xavier Grimble, Silas Redd and Dion Bailey.
  • Here is Sarkisian's post-practice presser...

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