Thursday Practice: Casey Stands Out

Freshman defensive tackle Jurrell Casey has received rave reviews from USC's coaching staff from the first time he stepped on Howard Jones Field, and this week with the emphasis on the development of the younger players, he stood out once again. Look inside for an update on Casey and much more.

Casey Stands Out

Freshman defensive tackle Jurrell Casey has received rave reviews from USC's coaching staff from the first time he stepped on Howard Jones Field, and this week with the emphasis on the development of the younger players, he stood out once again.

"Jurrell Casey really had a big week, guys couldn't block him," Carroll said. "He did a great job for us, and everyday he was a factor."

The Trojans rested several veteran players during the bye, which gave Casey a chance to showcase his skills all week.

"With the older guys sitting out it motivated me to do extra because I knew the coaches were looking at me," said Casey.

The freshman defensive tackle has drawn comparisons to former USC defensive tackle, Mike Patterson, because of their similar build and quickness.

"He looks like he is going to be a really good player," Carroll said. "He looks very much like Mike Patterson.

"I know the guys in strength and conditioning are really fired up about him. He's really getting strong quickly."

With his steady improvement, Casey has worked his way into the competition at defensive tackle with Christian Tupou and Averell Spicer.

"Both of those guys are great and they push me to get better," Casey said. "With the competition that we have out there everyday, it just helps me to get better and better.

"I am going to go out everyday and compete like they compete. They aren't going to give it up easy, so I am going to go out there and try and take it."

Casey has played a major role on the defensive line this season, like helping to hold the Arizona Wildcats on a critical fourth-and-inches play late in the Trojans' 17-10 win in Tucson, AZ.

"The coaches have given me a chance to show what I can do," Casey said. "I'm getting a lot of playing time right now, but they are looking for me to get more."

In nine games this season, Casey has recorded nine tackles and a tackle for loss.

"He has had a really good year and he kind of topped it off with this week," said Carroll.

Armstead Injured

Freshman defensive tackle Armond Armstead broke a bone in his right hand during one-on-one drills at practice today.

"I don't really know what happened," said Armstead, who was wearing a soft cast. "I was going one-on-one's and then I felt a pain in my hand."

The freshman defensive lineman said he will get a hard cast from team doctors on Monday, and is optimistic that he can play against Notre Dame.

"The doctor said I could so that's what I am shooting for, to play against Notre Dame," Armstead said.

News and Notes

• Freshman offensive tackle Tyron Smith wore a boot and didn't practice on Thursday. Smith said he sprained his right ankle on Wednesday, but plans to return to practice next week and should be available to play against Notre Dame.

• After practice, Pete Carroll singled out Khlaed Holmes, Matt Kalil, Curtis McNeal and Jurrell Casey as players that made the most of their extra work this week.

Jordan Cameron continued to work at both the wide receiver and tight end spots in practice. Carroll said the move was made because of the lack of depth at tight end when Blake Ayles was banged up. Cameron will continue to play both positions.

"By no means have we moved him out of the wide receiver spot," Carroll said. "He will play wide receiver in the springtime and we will be able to play him at both spots. Versatility-wise it's really going to help us."

• The Trojans will have the weekend off before returning to the practice field on Monday to begin preparing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

"We are going to have a good break here and come back on Sunday night," Carroll said. "We have a little advantage getting that extra Monday."


Jurrell Casey (far right) walks out of the tunnel with Brian Cushing, Kevin Ellison and
Jeff Byers.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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