Katie Chin | Daily TrojanUSC football returned to the practice field on Tuesday after an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday. With the Sept. 2nd season opener against Western Michigan approaching, head coach Clay Helton said that the team will go through a mock game week and that the team is preparing as if “they’re playing Saturday.” The Trojans have already started planning for the Broncos and will have a scrimmage on Saturday closed to the media. Team Captains The Trojans announced their captains for the 2017 season. Sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold, senior safety Chris Hawkins, senior linebacker Uchenna Nwosu and junior linebacker Cam Smith will all don the “C” this season. Although the team usually votes for two offensive captains and two defensive captains, this year will be an exception. “It speaks volumes to what they’ve done in the offseason and what they’ve done for this football team,” Helton said. “I’m very proud of each one and the way they’ve led our football team on and off the field. I can’t think of four better men to take us into the 2017 season.” Building Chemistry One of the biggest storylines is who will emerge as the main targets for Darnold. While the Trojans undoubtedly have talent at the position, it is clear that chemistry needs to be built between the Heisman-candidate quarterback and his receivers. “We’ve still got work to do,” Helton said. “I don’t think we’re anywhere near a finished product. We’ve got two weeks to iron out those wrinkles and get the three to four guys who will go out and function on a consistent basis.” Helton singled out junior Deontay Burnett, senior Steven Mitchell and junior Jalen Greene for consistent and reliable play but he wants as much depth as he can get. He remains confident in his first group of wideout but aims to have six wideouts who can provide targets for Darnold this fall. Redshirt freshman Tyler Vaughns has played well in recent weeks, but as the week goes on, the picture will become clearer. Freshmen Look to Contribute After getting a top five recruiting class in 2017, the Trojans hope to see major production out of their freshman class. So far it looks likely. Darnold mentioned that physically, the freshmen don’t look like 18- and 19-year-olds. “It’s good to see,” Darnold said. “A lot of talent and they’re picking up the stuff pretty quick.” Defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu, who was an early enrollee, stood out in Spring Camp and figures to be a rotational player who can stuff the run. Running back Stephen Carr said he’s adjusted to the speed of college play well. “My first couple of scrimmages, it was different,” Carr said. “One of the things I experienced was that you can’t spend too much time chattering your feet or making too many moves in the hole.” Although junior Ronald Jones II is the starter, Carr’s size and speed make him a threat in the backfield. Other Notes Freshman safety Isaiah Pola Mao will miss the rest of the season after suffering a shoulder injury in the scrimmage on Saturday.Helton will name a depth chart on Sunday.Senior offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao left practice early. Helton said the took a precautionary x-ray and it came back negative. Helton expects Talamaivao to return in a couple days.Tight ends Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Josh Falo returned to practice today.
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