2014 Fall Camp #3: Notes

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The Trojans had to fight day three fatigue under the afternoon sun.
  • USC was missing OL Jordan Simmons (resting his surgically repaired knee) and CB Devian Shelton (ankle) today plus TE Bryce Dixon (cramps) left early.  The Trojans were boosted by the return to the practice field of CB Kevon Seymour and S Su'a Cravens, who are recovering from separate illnesses, although neither physically extended themselves.
  • FallCamp14Logo.pngThe defense responded today forcing three turnovers in the red zone, including a Leon McQuay interception.  USC was the nation's best red zone defense a year ago.
  • With the addition of scholarship kicker Matt Boermeester, three-year starter Andre Heidari is under some competitive pressure. Heidari has been inconsistent through three days.  "For Andre, it has been clear to see, three days into training camp, we need to get him to be more consistent mentally, so he can be consistent physically," said head coach Steve Sarkisian.
  • On the other hand (or foot), punter Kris Albarado has impressed his new head coach this week.  Sarkisian said that Albarado will be "first team all-conference" if he keeps it up.  He has been booming the ball with hang time and direction.
  • The right side of the offensive line appears to be the Trojans biggest question mark with almost no returning experience.  Currently, Zach Banner is manning the right tackle spot while Khaliel Rodgers is working with the first team at right guard.  "I don't know if there is a bigger player in college football. He uses his length and size to his advantage," Sarkisian said about Banner. "Every day Coach Drevno is just working him on pad level, pad level, and that's a hard thing to do when you're 6-foot-9."
  • Like Banner, Rodgers was a highly touted prospect, but he redshirted his first year and now gets a chance to show off his ability.  "Coming out of high school, it was a bit different, this is big time football," said Rodgers about the value of sitting out a year to adjust.
  • Both Banner and Rodgers will benefit from having veteran center Max Tuerk as the clear leader of the line and someone who has played every position along the front. "He's a mentor to me.  After Marcus [Martin] left, he just took that spot for me. He helps me out with everything," said Rodgers.
  • Defensively, the front seven is loaded with talent and experience, but as defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said, you can never have too much depth.  The Trojans are counting on the oft-injured Cody Temple to backup Antwaun Woods.
  • In the secondary, depth will have to come from the freshmen ranks like cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson, Lamont Simmons and Jonathan Lockett. "[Jackson] has elite change of direction skills, he's really into football and he's a bright kid. The more and more he plays, the better he is going to get," said Wilcox. "We feel really good about the secondary and the new guys coming in. We just have to get them up to speed."
  • Here is Steve Sarkisian breaking down day three:

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