The Trojans eased off the gas with a lighter practice before tomorrow's Coliseum scrimmage, which is closed to the public.
- On the injury front, DB Su'a Cravens strained his groin, and TE Bryce Dixon tweaked his groin. DL Leonard Williams, DL Antwaun Woods, OL Jordan Simmons, CB/WR Adoree' Jackson and WR Darreus Rogers are all among the sidelined.
- The coaches were much happier with the offensive tempo today as Steve Sarkisian would like to see his team play at a faster pace. He expects the Trojans to run only 10 to 13 seconds between plays when the offense is pushed to warp speed.
- USC is able to play faster in part because "the terminology and the verbiage is a lot less for the kids right now," said offensive coordinator Clay Helton. "They're learning concepts rather than being told each person what to do." Plus, the simplicity enables skill players like Nelson Agholor to line up at multiple spots within the offense.
- The base package of the offense has been installed through a week and a half with only specialty situations still to be introduced. However, especially with the young guys, minds will go blank when the bullets start flying Wednesday night. "We have a saying, 'Assume nothing and coach everything.' Act every day like you are teaching them from brand new," said Helton.
- Helton has nurtured Cody Kessler's career from his first days on the USC campus, and he has seen his greatest growth in his "anticipation level." In this camp in particular, Kessler is hitting his running backs not just as an outlet but as playmaking receivers in space, he said.
- Any questions about Kessler's arm strength are a thing of the past. "He can make any throw on the field," said Helton.
- As a unit, Helton would like to see his quarterbacks display "decision-making, timing and accuracy" during the scrimmage. "Those are the three things that we set our standard by. Protecting the ball, getting it to the right guy, getting it out on time and then being accurate, so he can do things after the catch."
- As for the entire team, Sarkisian wants to see the Trojans "put it all together" in a live setting. Today, wideouts JuJu Smith and George Farmer stole the show with touchdown catches.
- Here is Sarkisian after practice today...