2014 Fall Camp #1: Notes

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USC opened Fall Camp with a long night session clocking in at just under three hours...
  • Howard Jones Field was flooded with new faces, returning veterans and interested spectators.  All three made for a different atmosphere than the quiet spring.  The Trojan Family packed the sidelines and Dedeaux Deck as four of the first five practices are open to the public.
  • Josh_shaw_insta.jpgThe veterans returning from injury along with the influx of freshmen talent raised the competition level, according to head coach Steve Sarkisian.  Of note, DL Leonard Williams shoulder "feels great" and he suffered "no tweaks", while WR George Farmer, WR Steven Mitchell, OL Aundrey Walker, LB Lamar Dawson, OL Jordan Simmons and RB Justin Davis were all notable returnees from season-ending injuries suffered last year.
  • Farmer on his knee: "I wasn't thinking about my knee. It's just as good as my right leg, even better."
  • Walker was limping around some, but he is fully healed, reported the head coach.  He just needs to push through soreness.  Dawson was still unable to practice fully, while CB Kevon Seymour sat out entirely as he recovers from the effects of an illness which hospitalized him last week.
  • As for the new faces, WR John "JuJu" Smith made the play of the day on a diving catch.  Smith is one of several two-way candidates along with Rahshead Johnson, who played offense today, and Adoree' Jackson, who primarily worked at cornerback although he got 15 plays at wide receiver.
  • Josh Shaw (pictured) on Jackson playing both ways: "I can only imagine from day one it has to be tough, but Adoree' is a hard worker. His room is actually right next to mine in the dorm, and we were up late last night just studying. Adoree' is really a guy that just wants it."
  • Seymour described the much-hyped Jackson as "a freak athlete," but Lamont Simmons "really impressed me," said the veteran corner. "He'll be big for us."  The Trojans are loaded at cornerback as freshman Jonathan Lockett was impressive today as well.
  • USC's talent pool is shallower at tight end where Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick was ruled out for the season due to academic ineligibility.  He is still able to practice with the team, but Randall Telfer and freshman Bryce Dixon are the only scholarship tight ends left.  Sarkisian is not concerned though saying that walk-on Chris Willson is "adequate" and fullbacks Soma Vainuku and Jahleel Pinner are versatile.
  • Telfer on Dixon: "He had a pretty good day for a first day. I know it was a lot better than my first day. We are going to need him this season."
  • On the offensive line, freshmen are providing a major boost at least in terms of numbers.  Viane Talamaivao is working at center, which is a new position for him. Toa Lobendahn is also taking reps at center to increase his "versatility" in case starter Max Tuerk goes down.
  • We'll have a complete feature on USC's Navy SEAL leadership training from the past weekend, but Josh Shaw called it the "toughest thing I've ever done" and his take seemed unanimous across the dozen or so players that were given the opportunity to participate.
  • Practice ended with a little rookie accountability drill as the freshman already lost the "rookie ball" that they are tasked with protecting all month.  Apparently, QB Jalen Greene was to blame, said Williams.
  • Our post-practice press conference video glitched after three minutes today, so we apologize for the abbreviated clip.  Typically, we'll have the entire Sarkisian presser.

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