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2014 Fall Camp #5: Notes

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The Trojans tackled live for the first time today.
  • Junior DT Antwaun Woods suffered a left elbow injury today, which forced him to leave practice and put his arm in a sling.  The X-rays came back negative (which is positive), and Steve Sarkisian estimated that he will be out 1-2 weeks.
  • MCGillen-USC-Football-FallCamp-2014-7420.jpgWoods was hurt during a typical offensive line vs. defensive line drill, but practice was more physical with a tackling drill and then about 25 scrimmage plays.  Everyone came through those relatively unscathed and the coaches were able to test the toughness of their young players.
  • The scrimmage portion provided an opportunity for some big plays, and LB Quinton Powell made the day's standout highlight stepping in front of a Max Browne throw for a pick-6.
  • Offensively, the tight ends displayed some explosiveness.  Randall Telfer showed that he is fully healthy, but walk-on Chris Willson was the biggest surprise.  He barreled through defenders on a 50-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.  "I haven't had a breakaway catch like that [before]," said Willson, who has really bulked up since moving from quarterback.  "After that, I was just moving. I feel good. I feel strong. Today, the proof was in the pudding."
  • Freshman TE Bryce Dixon continued to exhibit tremendous athleticism as a pass catcher.  "In the short term, that guy is a weapon in our passing game," said Sarkisian, who explained that Dixon needs to continue working on his blocking to become a complete tight end.
  • In a freshman versus freshman battle, JuJu Smith beat Adoree' Jackson on a deep fade.
  • While the offense made some plays in the passing game, the running lanes were more like slivers.  LB Hayes Pullard cut Justin Davis down in the backfield to record a tackle-for-loss, and DL Leonard Williams is terrorizing his friends on the offensive line.  "Leonard makes it really hard to run the ball," Sarkisian said. "Fortunately, as I reminded Coach Drevno last night we were watching the film, as hard as it is that we have to face Leonard every day in practice, we don't have to face him every Saturday during the season."
  • Davis was the workhorse tailback today as Buck Allen and Tre Madden sat out the contact portion.  Sarkisian wanted to test Davis who admitted he needs to get back into running shape after a long offseason rehabbing from a leg injury, which did provide him the time to get noticeably stronger.
  • Davis spoke plainly about the talent the Trojans have in the backfield (pictured).  "It might sound cliche but I honestly believe we are the best running back group in the nation," said the sophomore. "Teams are not going to be ready for it and we are going to show them something powerful."
  • Running backs should get more touches in Sarkisian's offense, especially as pass catchers.  Davis made a reception on a wheel route down the field today.  He is also a kick return candidate, which he said takes "a little crazy" if you want to be good.
  • Sarkisian listed CB Chris Hawkins and OT Zach Banner as two of the most improved players.
  • The team will have a day off tomorrow to enjoy a movie and relax, and then the Trojans will return to the practice field on Sunday morning. Here is Sarkisian's post-practice press conference...


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