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USC Football

Fall Camp: Day 2 Report Notes & Observations With Clay Helton

October 12, 2020

Believe me when I say this...I am ecstatic to be able to cover fall camp even if my eyes are not.  

I love being able to provide a different perspective with my notes & observations style, and even though I’m being forced to adjust the game plan, I’ll do my best to offer my observations from what I hear publicly as well as privately.  

On Monday morning just in time to kick start the day with some coffee, Clay Helton, met with the media, and bringing us up to speed following the Trojans first couple of days of fall camp.  You can watch the Q & A session below, however here some notes and observations to get you going.

  • Right off the bat, Helton, let us know the team had two really good days of practice installing their base packages as the team goes through the NCAA protocols and acclimation period which means shorts and helmets only.  This week they will ramp things up per NCAA guidelines and will wear full pads on Wednesday.
  • Which means today and tomorrow the guys will be in shells.  It also means focusing on situational football.  Today the emphasis will be converting on 3rd down and tomorrow’s situational emphasis will focus inside the red zone
  • Overall, Clay, felt the guys had great energy during the first two days of camp, with the guys just happy being out there together as a team.  
  • On that note, I’d like to offer my own personal observation.--Even though we’re not allowed to be out there physically with the team, I would be remiss if I did not mention I missed seeing Dan Weber’s face this morning in our virtual presser with Clay.  Dan was the dean out there during practices (unless Jim Hill was present) and Dan had the respect of everyone who he worked with.  Being able to watch and learn from his experience taught me a lot...I only wish I had more opportunities.  If you’re reading this, Dan....thanks for your words of encouragement and “enjoy life!”
  • Something new we may see in the future, and omething Coach Helton made a point to emphasize was his affinity for the 2-week OTA period the team went through leading up to fall camp.    Helton said  “by being able to go out there and get some functional football movement, it was helpful both mentally and physically...”   seeing how well the team prepared during the OTA’s, Helton is hopeful the NCAA will adopt this protocol in the future.
  • Following two full days on Friday and Saturday, the team was given Sunday off to rest their bodies, however, they’re right back it today.
  • I know everone wants to know about health status of the injured players, Clay, covers the injury report below.  
  • Two names of interest...Markese Stepp “looks and feels great.”  He’s being brought along gradually, however, there are no signs of concern.  In fact according to Helton, “Stepp, was given a limited plan on Friday and he handled it so well we gave him a little bit more on Saturday.”  Isaac Taylor-Stuart according to Helton has his speed and burst back....the OTA’s allowed him to gain his confidence back by setting his pace and helping with his change of direction.  ITS can also *allegedly* run 22MPH in a straight line.
  • How would the Trojan Family feel about seeing more 2-back alignments when the Trojans line up on offense?  Clay let us know the plan is to incorporate more “21 personnel” sets.  This is helpful on two fronts; 1) The Trojans have 4 really good RB’s who each bring a unique skill set to the table.  2) It gives the opponents something new to look at.
  • I love how Clay continues to remind us about the sacrifices the team has made just for this opportunity.   I’m hoping the fans remember this too when they’re watching the games in a few weeks
  • In this week’s version of Monday's Morass I wrote What If USC and Alabama had played to open the season?   So I wanted to ask Clay’s thoughts following up on the question I asked him this past Friday, regarding what he sees when watching the games on Saturdays.  Guess which game caught Helton’s attention over the weekend? LOL.   Make sure you watch the video below for his answer.
  • The other question I was able to sneak in before it was time to leave was to get Clay’s impression on how recruiting was going, and the impact the new and bigger support staff have played with the recruiting success to date.  Helton immediately gave praise where it was due mentioning the resources Mike Bohn is investing.
  • Later today we will provide more pictures and video offered to us from the USC Athletic Department.

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