The mood was light, but competitive for most of the team. Senior linebacker Hayes Pullard and senior safety Josh Shaw directed the players through warm ups and into position drills.
The offensive linemen saw the best work of the day. With junior offensive center Max Tuerk leading the way, the offensive line bags drills were a mix of teaching and physical training. Tuerk took the center spot, while Khaliel Rodgers and Toa Lobendahn took reps at guard with Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler stepping in for the first rotation at offensive tackle.
Note Worthy: Redshirt sophomore Jordan Simmons looked good participating in drills at right tackle. Freshman Jordan Austin played left tackle, while senior offensive tackle Aundrey Walker was not in attendance Thursday.
USC has had issues snapping the ball this off season with Tuerk at center. While the junior is a tremendous blocker, whose versatility on the offensive line is unmatched roster wide, one of the first reps in the seven-on-seven period saw the ball sail over quarterback Cody Kessler's head from the shotgun.
Lobendahn and senior Giovanni Di Poalo have both seen reps at center, so with additional freshmen offensive linemen like Viane Talamaivao trickling into off season drills as the summer continues, the shell game at center may develop further.
At tight end, the numbers are less impressive from a depth stand point. However, sophomore Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick had a fantastic day catching the football. During team drills, Cope-Fitzpatrick burned safeties and linebackers alike catching the football down field.
Cope-Fitzpatrick had a long touchdown reception against linebacker Quinton Powell in which Powell looked surprised at the big tight end's ability to get down the hash marks. Tight end Chris Wilson also participated in drills, with senior Randall Telfer beginning to inch his way into the line up again.
Note Worthy: Telfer warmed up with the team and did some light running in drills. Telfer looks a bit heavier this off season, which could be attributed to not participating in spring football. Telfer had a few reps run blocking in team drills, although this portion of practice was only half speed.
Wide receivers Victor Blackwell, Nelson Agholor and George Farmer were all in attendance. With only three wide outs to run routes, the pace of the offense was slowed at the request of quarterback Kessler.
This didn't stop Farmer and Agholor from making some great catches over the defensive backs. Farmer had a beautiful 40-yard touchdown catch over a walk-on cornerback, while Agholor had an acrobatic reception on the other side of the field against Ryan Dillard.
Note Worthy: After practice, Agholor had a very demonstrative discussion with seniors Hayes Pullard, Randall Telfer and others. Agholor may have been agitated by the tone of practice, as he broke the team with some choice words before the end of the session. The small group spoke for about 15 minutes after the rest of the team had left Howard Jones Field.
While the receivers got the better of the defensive backs Thursday, cornerback Ryan Dillard had an interception as did sophomore safety Leon McQuay III. Cornerback Chris Hawkins and safety Gerald Bowman also participated in all aspects of drills.
Note Worthy: Cornerback Anthony Brown did not attend work outs this week and rumors swirling around campus have the senior hitting the books in order to stay eligible this fall. More to come on that.
The defensive line had a relatively easy day of work. The group did no position drills to speak of and only went half speed during team run. Junior Leonard Williams, junior Delvon Simmons, junior Claude Pelon, senior Antwaun Woods and redshirt freshman Kenny Bigelow were all in attendance.
It's a good looking group of big bodies, as Leonard Williams sprinted sideline to sideline showing that he could get the angle on Buck Allen running the football. Defensive end Greg Townsend was in attendance Thursday, but watched most of practice.
Note Worthy: Only three freshmen attended practice Thursday, with Don Hill joining Toa Lobendahn and Jordan Austin. Hill watched drills with linebacker Lamar Dawson.