All is proceeding as expected. Clay Helton praised Max Browne, for his Tuesday practice, and in general, his “great poise, game management . . . he has a great ability to go on to the next play,” and not let the last one throw him off. “He’s never flustered.”
So not being named the starter before Saturday shouldn’t be a problem for the redshirt junior in his battle with talented redshirt freshman Sam Darnold. Nothing will happen between now and then with a no-pads Thursday workout to prepare the team for summer throwing sessions and that’s pretty much it.
”I’m going to let it go through the spring game,” Clay said. He wants “to see how the guys react in their first time in front of fans and on TV,” he said. “I’m not ready to make that decision.”
But one other thing he’s not ready for either: “We’re not going with two quarterbacks,” Clay said. “It’ll be shortly after the spring game . . . after I’ve seen the film.”
If there’s one thing on the offense for which a decision has been made, it’s this: This USC team is going to get the ball to the three tight ends – and do so down the field. And on this day, with all four quarterbacks doing the honors.
”That’s one thing that stood out today,” Helton said, of the way Tee Martin and Tyson Helton have incorporated throwing to Taylor McNamara, Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Tyler Petite and “pushing the ball down the field.”
”That was one of the staples of the Western Kentucky offense,” Clay said and one of the things Tee and Tyson got together on before spring ball. “Daniel is an explosive tight end,” he said of the older Imatrobhebhe who had a pair of TD catches Tuesday.
”These guys remind me of Jordan Cameron and Rhett Ellison,” Clay said. “All three were the kinds of tight ends in high school who were flex receivers and now they’re 240 to 250 pounds and a mismatch for linebackers.”
And that’s their first responsibility, Clay said. “Not that they can’t block,” but hitting the seam and beating a safety or linebacker is their No. 1 duty in this offense.”<
Good words for 3 on the O-line
O-line coach Neil Callaway says “they’re coming along,” as he always does of his guys, and “still have a ways to go,” as he always does.
But he revealed just a bit more Tuesday in getting into some detail about his guys. In the four-way battle at guard, he said Viane Talamaivao has pulled away from the other three a bit.
”It’s awesome to hear that,” said a slimmed-down Viane, now at 312 pounds after playing at 340 in high school and 325 last fall. “But I’ll take it with a grain of salt. It’s great to hear it but it won’t change anything. I’m just going to keep coming out here every day and competing as hard as I can.”
As to who’s next after Viane, Callaway says: ”To be honest, I don’t know.” And he’s not necessarily in a hurry saying he can take it up to two weeks before the opener before having to come up with his first five
But he likes the way Chad Wheeler, holding at 310 pounds, has looked at left tackle. And don’t write off Nico Falah at center, just because Toa Lobendahn and Khaliel Rodgers have been sitting out spring rehabbing.
”Nico has done a nice job,” Callaway said. “He will be in the mix.”
Quick hitters here
Perfect day, bright, sunny, not too hot, players in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads for last competitive practice of the spring . . . no pads Thursday as they look to setting up summer workouts and then the Spring Game (3 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks) at the Coliseum . . . . . . Another 100 or so high school players and coaches here . . . Jordan Simmons back in gear and working after rehabbing Saturday . . . Dominic Davis looking good running it and returning it . . . Ronald Jones, whose weight is holding at 195, had the big run of the day on an outside zone left that he cut inside then out for 70 plus . . . Ajene Harris still full-time on defense Tuesday, looking like he belongs there and he also got a FG block to boot . . . Matt Boermeester had a pretty good day going hitting consistently from the mid-40’s before hooking his final try that would have sent his teammates in without running but on the miss, they all had to run.
*** For more details on Tuesday’s practice, check out Tuesday Spring Day 13 Ghost Notes.
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