Get 'chippy' but better compete against Utah

Time for the Trojans to step up and take care of business and get themselves going this week.

Call it "chippy."

"No question," Clay Helton said. "I'd really be worried if they weren't chippy."

Or you could call it just plain old "Competition Tuesday," as the USC coach also called it -- "a great Competition Tuesday," he said.

"It was pretty physical out there," Su'a Cravens said after a little scuffle with James Toland in Scout team work as Toland portrayed Utah running back Devontae Booker.

"We're getting ready for a physical team," Su'a said. "I like being physical, I invited it. Everybody wants to hit somebody. They're the No. 3 team in the country and I'm cousins with the head coach [Kyle Whittingham]. It should be fun."

But "I can't talk to him," Su'a said. But he could talk about his cousin Kyle. "He's been there forever. Recruits trust him. They're physical, disciplined with great special teams."

Helton said he's not backing off what he's said about his 3-3 USC team (1-2 in the Pac-12) heading into Saturday's 4:30 p.m. game at the Coliseum (Fox) against the unbeaten Utes (6-0).

"There's an ultra belief in this staff for them," Helton said of his Trojans. "Two things" stand in the way of where this USC team could be and where it is.

"To get over the hump, we've got to eliminate mistakes," Su'a said, "and finish in the fourth quarter. You saw it today -- this team is going to fight."

Everybody's a critic


As interesting as it was that Zach Banner lined up at left tackle Tuesday with Chad Wheeler out after showing minor concussion symptoms Sunday, and that the 6-foot-9, 350-pound Zach was playing with his hand on the ground, that was only a small part of the post-practice conversation.

But it led the way as Zach said it wasn't exactly new to him. He played there his last two years in high school and "I was recruited to play left tackle," he said.

"It went well, really well," he said. Even if the hand and foot placement, stance and line of sight are all different. "I'm just stepping up . . . I like it."

What Banner, who obviously keeps up with social media, doesn't like was clear as he singled out a reporter for texts and tweets he thought were too negative.

He's not going to be critical, Banner said, after drawing criticism his way with another game with multiple penalties at Notre Dame. "We're working on getting better every day . . . I love my guys . . . I'm the big brother on this team . . . We're going to step up and fix things.

"We've got to step up," Banner said. "It's always real frustrating to lose . . . it sucks . . . it hurts . . . we came here to win championships . . . it hurts, it really hurts."

TUESDAY QUICK HITS: No pads for Steven Mitchell (ankle) or Darreus Rogers (hamstring) . . . Isaac Whitney and Christian Tober both out with broken collarbones . . . Taylor McNamara, John Plattenburg and Michael Hutchings out with the flu bug that's been going through the team . . . No Claude Pelon (knee) . . . Scott Felix dealing with a minor knee issue but moving pretty well out there . . . Jordan Simmons out on the field after rehab but no pads, no cleats, not much change in two months since he put a lot of pressure on his knee one week in August camp and it blew up on him . . . Adoree' Jackson in a cardinal offensive jersey for the first time since fall camp . . . played a couple of plays at the end on defense . . . Tee Martin said he'll be happy to have him . . . "There's a chance," Tee said, "but I don't want to tell Utah . . . with AJ on offense, the four corners would be Kevon Seymour, Iman Marshall, Isaiah Langley and Jonathan Lockett . . . Quinton Powell with the big hit of the day on punter Chris Tilbey when the Scout team tried a fake punt.

CHECK THIS OUT: For Tuesday's practice report, check out TUESDAY UTES WEEK GHOST NOTES.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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