Fall Camp is where players focus on their roles. They are in constant competition mode with respect to their position and making sure they are ready for week one of the season. Its always a barometer of the unknown for the season but with constant ups and downs where do you place your wagers on just how good a team will be as we approach the end of camp (midway point) and start to talk San Jose State and September, 4th.
It's inevitable that we will see extreme highs and lows throughout the dog days of fall camp. You can go to sleep at night and review the updates from the coaches and by the next horn to start practice you hear the rehab island is fully occupied. That sends shivers up the spine as rehab island is also where NO development occurs. No timing routes are practice. Wax on Wax off is impossible to connect the dots with each player who is rehabbing.
Injuries or players who have had surgeries and are on the mend will be a big part of setting the expectations. Today, the USC Trojans are blessed with athletes across the depth charts that could start elsewhere. We have been seeing this trend throughout the post-Pete Carroll era where it was every year. The challenge has been the product on the field in games that should be over before the coin flip. This to me is the biggest challenge of fall camp. The uneasy flows that occur with the perceived starters who are not on the field practicing create that opportunity for others but also make it very hard to hone the skilled positions and timing.
The past few years under coach Clay Helton has seen a plethora of rehab island check-ins and check-outs. Not unusual per se, but a drain on the development side nonetheless. Kedon Slovis appears to be back strength-wise. Had we shut him down last year and let him mend who knows how strong he would be today. But again, he is looking to be much more efficient on his sideline throws vs last season. Need to see more of the long ball still but we are only at the midpoint of fall camp.