If it wasn't a sack it was an interception, if it wasn't either of those, it was pressure forcing the quarterbacks to throw the ball away…. And when it was all over, it was the offense trash talking the D, because that's all they could seem to manage.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin confirmed what was obvious over the Trojans two-plus hour practice Sunday afternoon on Howard-Jones Field, that the defense dominated the day.
"There were a number of turnovers that were forced by the defense," Kiffin said after practice. "They did it a couple of series in a row so it was really good to see."
Freshman safety Su'a Cravens and redshirt senior cornerback Torin Harris each grabbed an interception Sunday. The defensive line wreaked havoc for the quarterbacks, forcing them to make hurried passes, throw the ball away, or take the sack.
Kevin Greene switches to offense
Redshirt junior Xavier Grimble and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick are the go-to tight ends for the Trojans right now as Randall Telfer continues to rehab his knee. Thin on depth, Kiffin decided to have redshirt senior Kevin Greene throw on a white offensive jersey Sunday, switching from defensive end/outside linebacker to tight end.
"This is a time of year when we are always trying to find things out," Kiffin explained. "We just kind of came up with that idea this morning because of the limited numbers at tight end. We'll go back and watch the film to see."
Greene, 6-foot-4 255-pounds, said after practice he hasn't caught a ball since his senior year of high school, when he was a receiver. "Over time, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to feel a lot more comfortable taking a few more snaps," he said after practice.
"Wherever the coaches feel like they can use me, I'll be for it," he said.
Quarterback battle remains status-quo
Everyday the question will be asked and it's only a matter of time before there's an answer as to who the Trojans next starting quarterback will be. Sunday didn't lead to an answer.
"We didn't take care of the ball very well," Kiffin said, "and obviously that's the most important thing at quarterback.
"It's still really early," he continued. "A bunch of that will be decision making in the scrimmage situation when we get to that."
Kiffin says the stats won't necessarily tell the story of who will be named the quarterback, "It will be about the whole evaluation of their play," he said.
Since the defense put on a dominating performance, it can only mean there left something to be desired from the offense. "We have to take care of the ball better," Kiffin said. "We can't let one turnover affect the next series. We have to get back to playing better football."
"It obviously wasn't what the offense wanted to do today," redshirt sophomore quarterback Cody Kessler said after practice. "We had a lot of stuff to learn from after today. Me, personally, I could've played a lot better.
"The defense had a great day and as much as it sucked for us, take it personal and come out tomorrow and challenge ourselves just because of how well the defense is playing."
Running back depth
It could be mounting up to be the year of the running back at Troy. Since watching day one film, Kiffin said he saw "flashes" from freshman Justin Davis and redshirt sophomore Tre Madden. "They are very special players with a unique skillset," Kiffin said.
Former USC player Tony Burnett was on the sidelines during Sunday's practice, he signed with the San Diego Chargers…A few recruits were on the sideline, notably Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco's Malik Dorton…There was noticeably more ‘trash talk' during Sunday's practice than those of the past, with the defense and offense jawing throughout the second half of the workout, raising the energy level. Helmets, shirts, and shorts for the second day of camp…