Back to normal Friday

Cody Kessler back at quarterback but with Adoree' Jackson there for him not against him.

Cody Kessler was back, along with fellow grad students Anthony Sarao and Taylor McNamara and for each of them, Friday was a very good day.

Sarao had a red zone pick thanks to a bouncing ball that deflected off Aca'Cedric Ware's face mask. McNamara, the tight end transfer from Oklahoma who's been running with the first team the last four practices he's been here, had a couple of catches in the two-point play finishing challenge to give the offense the win.

But Kessler was luckier than that. He had Adoree' Jackson on his side again on offense. Even if Kessler seemed uncertain which side he'd like to see Adoree' on since "he makes me better when he's playing corner."

The same for USC's other receivers -- he makes them better when they have to face him. But then there's this.

When he's on their side, he might be running a play from the slot where he goes in motion one direction, reaches the quarterback and doubles back, then releases outside the tackle and heads inside, then does a sharp V-cut back outside, that's four different directions the defense has to track him. Preferably with two players.

"Right now, we're putting in the 'Adoree' package,' Kessler said. "We're trying to overwhelm him."

It has been expanded "a lot," Adoree' agrees of the offense they're throwing his way compared to last season.

"He's a threat even when he's a decoy," Kessler said. Which, if Adoree' has his way and they play him the 40 plays a game on offense he says would be about right, doing the decoy thing would be a good part of that number.

But the big impact still would come on the plays like running under the ball 55 yards in the air from Cody that Adoree' had to stop for as he turned falling backwards with a defender standing practically on his feet.

No problem. Adoree' said. He could tell from the way USC teaches the defensive backs to use their hands, from the moment of the squeeze, he was going to be able to grab the ball because he was tracking it and knew where it was going and the defender didn't -- even if it went right under his arms.

But will it, Adoree' was asked, be too much to expect him to be able to do this on both sides of the ball -- and on special teams where he juked about three different ways against the Scout kickoff team before emerging for a length-of-the-field touchdown as well Friday.

"Not really," he said. "I don't think I'll feel like it is. I'm having too much fun."

No doubt it's fun when they're letting you do anything that you can do with a football -- catch it, carry it, kick it and maybe even throw it. But when push came to shove Friday and the first-team offense was up against it having been shut down three straight plays, you send Adoree' into the end zone, have him split defenders Leon McQuay III and Chris Hawkins and then throw it up where only the 5-foot-10 Olympic caliber leaper can get to it (as seen above).

Not a problem any more. The offense was on the board.

But he's not the only one and Cody clearly wants to defer attention to his other guys -- Juju Smith-Schuster, Steven Mitchell and on this day, his tight end McNamara, another player not yet released to talk to the media. So Cody talked for him.

"He's probably been the most improved . . . from where he was," Kessler said. "He's come a long way and now he's stepped right in . . . he can block, he can catch it."

And Cody could throw it with a fresh arm after his day off. "It killed me not to be here," he said but he liked it that "the team looked good . . . Max (roommate Tuerk) told me we ran it really good."

Max's team

It wasn't the offense's day to talk Thursday after Max Browne had taken over as quarterback so Friday was catchup day. "They told me a half-hour before we came out: 'It's your show today,' " the redshirt sophomore said.

"Coach [Clay] Helton says 'it's your job to drive the car.' " And the verdict was he drove it well.

And now that he's in the third year of his USC career, there's talk of how many teams in the SEC or Big Ten he'd be starting for. He notes Mississippi still has Dak Prescott "so probably not there," he says. "I have no idea."

Those who do think he'd start at most of those programs. But he knew the deal coming to USC -- "the possibility of sitting for three years," he says -- but he came anyway. "The degree and living in LA outweighed the negatives."

And yet he has no issue with RIcky Town deciding to transfer to Arkansas. "I think it's a good fit for him," he says. "Ricky's a good kid. I'm sure he'll find success."


Pres. Max Nikias here again along with AD Pat Haden . . . Dominic Davis gets first reps on KO return and Adoree' second, Christian Tober goes third . . . Surprise onside and pooch kicks thrown in here and the KO return team needs some work . . . Pac-12 officiating crew here again . . . getting to be regulars with a nice view of Adoree's length-of-the-field return against the Scout team . . . Chris Brown at both right and left guard with the ones alternating with Damien Mama, who ends up on the trainer's table with a right arm issue, and a returning Viane Talamaivao . . . freshman Chuma Edoga in at right tackle on offense for Zach Banner for a couple of red zone series at the end . . . senior D-lineman Claude Pelon made a quick appearance in full pads after arthroscopic surgery Thursday to check out his sprained right knee . . . USC hoping he's back by the opener . . . Jordan Simmonsout for third straight day with fluid on his left knee . . . Trojans will scrimmage to end preseason camp Saturday at 2:30 in the last practice open to both the fans and the players' parents, now, we understand . . . "Salute To Troy" will follow the scrimmage with Sunday and Monday's first day of class off . . . Lamar Dawson sidelined with cracked ribs . . . Quinton Powell still not all the way back from his concussion . . . Kevon Seymour out there and fighting through his bruised knee . . . Justin Davis out of pads with a high ribcage contusion with no helmet . . . Chad Wheeler missed after getting hit in the side of the head with a medicine ball Thursday. . . Ykili Ross on the trainer's table early for undisclosed injury . . . FG block team goes three for three with Delvon Simmons and Noah Jefferson getting blocks and an unidentified hand ticking the third against Scout team and kicker Wyatt Schmidt.

CHECK THIS OUT: For more details and play-by-play on Friday's workout, check out FALL PRACTICE 15 FRIDAY GHOST NOTES.

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