The USC Trojans wrapped up their ninth practice of the spring in full pads on Saturday at Cromwell Field. The Trojans broke out their variation of the “Oklahoma” drill once again and went through several team portions. After the first-team offense had marched down the field on a previous drive, the defense won the war with an interception on the final play.
Here are some players that stood out on Saturday:
The diminutive receiver had a Steven Mitchell day and that's saying something. Hampered by a nagging hamstring injury since last season, Harris got back to practice on Thursday and had one of his best days of the spring on Saturday.
"I don't think we've got the full-strength Ajene Harris since last training camp. Hopefully by fall camp, that's what we get out of him because he is a very good football player."
He made a nice one-handed grab in the flats on a Max Browne scramble and made another catch with a pair of defenders draped on him. He did have a block in the back penalty on a screen play.
The third-string redshirt freshman quarterback had possibly his best practice of his USC career. He looked fluid in the pocket, but was patient to make his reads before attempting to escape. Then when he did make the decision, he escaped the pocket, easily getting outside of the third-string defensive linemen.
"I think he has improved immensely. The first two weeks, I thought Jalen was doing okay," head coach Steve Sarkisian. "This week, Jalen's had a very good week of practice. Today he performed really, really well."
But Greene is known for his legs. Even more impressive were his throws on Saturday. He showed solid touch and also was able to wind up and throw the deep ball, connecting with our next star for a long touchdown...
Jackson caught a long touchdown pass from Jalen Greene and had another shorter TD grab in the red zone drills. Saturday was an all-offense day for Jackson and he continued to make plays. When Jackson is on the field, he's going to get the ball because he's such an explosive playmaker.
Lamar Dawson continues to have quite an outstanding spring. Dawson had a big pass breakup on a ball over the middle to Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick on a third down play to get the defense off the field with a win. And then he made the play of the day for another end-of-practice defensive win, swiping an interception and taking it to the house for the walk-off touchdown.
"Lamar's back," linebacker Su'a Cravens said. "Lamar's back to doing the things that he was doing my freshman year. He was two-gapping guys, throwing linemen and making tackles. That's expected of him. He's the oldest dude on out defense and wearing that 55 is a large load to carry. He's filling the shoes right."
The defensive line is thin on depth right now, which means the big boys are getting a ton of reps and that has led to some performance petering out in the second half of practice.
"They're making their plays," Sarkisian said about the defensive line. "They're being physical. We've just gotten fatigued at times. And when we get fatigued at times, our technique falters and we get out of our gaps and that's when we give up some big plays."
On Saturday, the line was getting a really good push across the board and forcing the quarterbacks to have to escape the pocket, but wasn't able to do much late in the day until Pelon made a good move to get in the backfield and get a "sack" of Cody Kessler that backed the offense up and may have led to Kessler trying to force the issue on the practice-ending interception.
The Trojans featured back this spring with Tre Madden still nursing his toe injury, Justin Davis is doing just about everything he can to make the case for the same status in the fall. After having a veterans off-day on Thursday, Davis was back at it. He runs more physical than his you would think looking at his stature and he is able to do that after making great, quick cuts. He had one cutback run in particular that stood out where he took a run off tackle and then made a deep cut back after getting the first two or three yards on the outside. The vision it took to make that play was next level worthy.