USC Football: 5 Offensive Players with the Most to Gain from Summer Workouts
Summer workouts are underway at USC, providing us with some insight as to how the players are coming along in the wake of spring camp.
The coaches aren't around, but head coach Steve Sarkisian spent the final days of spring camp showing the team how to run summer sessions, with great detail. The veterans are running the ship in their absence, leading their teammates through various light drills and 7-on-7 sessions.
For the handful of Trojans that missed the spring, these summer sessions are particularly important. Players will have the opportunity to show their growth during these organized sessions, which could have implications for their respective positions on the depth chart in the fall.
Let's take a look at the five Trojans that have the most to gain from summer workouts, and what they can do to showcase their strengths before August.
All quotes obtained first hand, unless otherwise stated.
QB Max Browne
Despite Sark's assertion that Cody Kessler is USC's starter for 2014, Max Browne still can encourage the coaches to give him a second look.
While Kessler has the obvious upper hand because he has a very good body of work to his name, Browne has more potential of the two, without question. The former Gatorade National Football Player of the Year, Browne has incredible arm strength and a skill set that lends itself well to Sark's offensive scheme.
That said, Kessler was the one who showed the most growth during the spring, the one that learned the new offense more quickly.
Browne can use these throwing sessions to show how much more adept he is at guiding the offense, and if he performs well, the competition in the fall could be more than just for show.
TE Randall Telfer
USC's only veteran tight end, Randall Telfer missed all of spring camp and was limited in 2013 because of a lingering knee injury. He's still recovering but is participating in summer workouts, an indication that he is progressing quite well.
In the spring, Telfer says his knee was about 50 percent, and now, he considers it to be around 75 or 80 percent. He's not fully healed, but he's at a point where he can get involved in light drills.
In his absence, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick had free reign of the tight ends corps, as the only other scholarship option on roster. Now that Telfer is slowly easing himself back into the mix, he can work more closely with Cope-Fitzpatrick.
If his knee holds up, we can expect Telfer to be a pivotal player in the offense, indicated by the success of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins under Sark at Washington. This wasn't the case for Telfer under Kiffin, so this fall will be his last chance to show he has what it takes to be a factor not only for the Trojans, but also at the next level.
WR Steven Mitchell
Steve Mitchell came into USC a 4-star wide receiver in the class of 2013, per 247Sports, but he suffered torn ligaments in his knee during last summer's workouts and missed the entire season.
Here's to hoping history doesn't repeat itself this time around.
Mitchell is a shifty wide receiver whose skill set would further electrify USC"s passing game, and he would be a good complement to the likes of Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers.
He's only participating in summer workouts in a limited capacity, but with a bevy of wide receivers as well as two-way players Adoree' Jackson and John "JuJu" Smith entering in the fall, Mitchell needs to use the summer to ensure he keeps himself near the top of the depth chart.
As he continues to progress through injury and develop as a player, we can expect to see much more of him in the fall.
WR Victor Blackwell
Victor Blackwell is a veteran wide receiver at USC, but his time is running out to make a name for himself. In two seasons, he's caught just five passes for 58 yards, and has never been called upon in quality game-time situations. He had to wait his turn behind Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, but now he needs to make his move, or he will find himself fading into oblivion in Troy.
While other players are cruising through summer sessions, Blackwell needs to go hard, to show that he has the work ethic and determination to be more than just an option during garbage time.
Incoming Freshman OL Viane Talamaivao
Trojan signee Viane Talamaivao is around for summer workouts, and he's been getting looks at center. He's coming into USC as a guard and has never lined up at center before, but his athleticism and versatility suggest he could make the transition well.
He's never had to snap the ball or deal with the responsibility of reading a defense, so it remains to be seen if he can pick that up fluidly.
If he's able to succeed in that role, it could free up Max Tuerk to shift over to right tackle. The Trojans are dangerously light on depth at that position, and it would be in USC's best interest to have as many of experienced and capable O-linemen lining up together at one time.
Tim Drevno will have a lot of options come the fall as far as setting the starting rotation, and a strong effort in the summer could ensure that Talamaivao keeps his name at the front of the coaches' minds.