First-year wide receiver De'von Flournoy has been arguably the most impressive freshman, not named Matt Barkley.
"For a first-year guy he is very coachable and tries to do exactly what you tell him to do," offensive coordinator John Morton said. "He has caught some balls and most have been touchdowns."
The lightning quick receiver from Birmingham high school has been very consistent this fall and come up big during the Trojans' two scrimmages.
"Usually big-time players step up when the limelight is on them," Morton said. "Those are the type of players that we get at USC. Hopefully he can continue to do it."
Flournoy has six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns in two scrimmages and has shown a knack for making big plays.
"We are putting him in position to make plays, so we expect him to do that," Morton said.
Flournoy's two touchdowns have come on big gains. The first was a 28-yard strike from Mitch Mustain, and Monday night he showed off his elusiveness, taking a short pass and turning it into a 53-yard touchdown with some nifty moves in the open field.
"I just ran a hitch, caught the ball and made a couple of guys miss," Flournoy said. "Basically what we are supposed to do."
He makes it sound so ordinary and simple, but later admitted that scoring a touchdown at the Coliseum is pretty exciting stuff.
"Of course it was great," Flournoy said. "I have been to the Coliseum three times, because in high school we went my sophomore and junior year. But to actually be on the USC roster and actually score in the Coliseum at night, it was a wonderful experience. It felt great."
"It makes you want to go out there when we really play."
The only thing that has slowed the young playmaker has been a sprained wrist that kept him out of Wednesday's practice.
Flournoy credits his veteran teammates for helping him in his transition to the college game.
"The transition from high school to college is already in itself fast but when you come to USC it is that much faster, being a great university," Flournoy said. "The thing is, the older guys at my position and even on the other side of the ball, they will help you and tell where you are supposed to be, and what the coaches expect from you."
With the depth at wide receiver, Flournoy was thought to be a potential redshirt candidate but after a quick start he looks like a player that could contribute in some capacity in 2009.
"Of course every player wants to play, so I would love to, but also I take in mind that I want to become the best player when I touch the field for USC," Flournoy said when asked about redshirting. "I just take it day by day, go out here and do what I have to do. Catch balls."
- Sophomore tight end Blake Ayles had a successful exploratory procedure on his heart today and is expected to return to practice soon.
"Blake had an absolutely perfect surgery," Carroll said. "It went perfectly from what they said and we expect him back in a couple of days."
- Freshman defensive end James Boyd has been moved to tight end. Carroll said the move was due in part to add depth at the tight end position.
"He is such a terrific athlete that he was one of the guys that we thought about," Carroll said. "He was really excited about it so we made the move today. His knee is still swollen but he was able to run out here. It was a real good team decision on his part."
- The Trojans depth on the offensive line was really apparent at today. The big men up front came alive in the second-half of practice and had an impressive performance, even with the absence of Kristofer O'Dowd and Nick Howell.
"As you can see, our offensive line really has the ability to control what is going on out here. Particularly, when we are running the football," Carroll said. "They get going and then all of the play-pass stuff comes alive."
- Second to None: After practice, Pete Carroll was asked where the current secondary group ranks among the ones that he has had in the past and Carroll didn't hesitate in naming the 2009 group his best unit.
"I have said coming in that I think this is the best bunch of guys that we have had. I think these guys are more adept at the stuff that we want to do."
- Brian Baucham, Torin Harris and Byron Moore are three young cornerbacks that have quietly had very good camps for the Trojans. Moore, who played safety during Monday's scrimmage, was back at corner today and had a pass deflection and a fumble recovery.
Pete Carroll praised the play of redshirt freshman Brian Baucham.
"I like the young corners. Brian Baucham continues to have really good days out here," Carroll said. "He is a real cover guy and he makes plays every day."
- With Averell Spicer sidelined, Pete Carroll has experimented with playing Christian Tupou and Jurrell Casey at the same time. In that situation, Tupou would stay at nose tackle and Casey would move to defensive tackle. Playing Casey and Tupou together allows the Trojans to get their two most active interior linemen on the field at the same time.
"Christian played all of last year and had a very, very good year for us. He's a real active guy with a great attitude, tough and all of that," Carroll said. "We love the way he plays and Jurrell has been a real ball hawk for us. He was the guy forcing the fumble the other night and he's been around the ball a lot.
"To put him in there at that spot, maybe would give us a chance to get our two most active guys on the field, and it looked very good for us."
- Freshman Patrick Hall had an early end to his first practice as a Trojan. Hall landed awkwardly and left the field to have his knee checked out.
- The Trojans will have practice at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Blake Ayles could return to practice in a few days.
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