Clay Helton addressed the media following USC's spring game on Saturday afternoon. Here is everything he said following Team Cardinals 27-7 defeat over Team Gold.
Helton Talks Freshman QB Jaxson Dart
“[Jaxson] has had the opportunity in the last couple of practices really to shine" said Helton.
"I thought all three quarterbacks, [including Jaxson] and Miller both looked poised. I didn’t see deer in the headlights with big eyes. They looked like they just went out there and just played which is what you want to see. Obviously, there is going to be some mistakes and [there] was a couple things he did wrong, [but] he made some nice plays."
"I'm glad that Jaxson and Miller [Moss] are getting this opportunity for experience and it only helps them grow.”
Helton Talks USC's Offensive Line Spring Performance
“Over [the] entire camp, I have been pleased with the offensive line" said Helton.
"I thought they allowed the [running backs] to do some nice things today. I think some young players got beat a couple of times by Drake Jackson and maybe Tuli [Tuipulotu].
"Most spring games you’re done. We have two weeks to continue to [grow] now and be able to even get better off of this. I have really enjoyed today, and I think we are going to learn from it and still get six more practices and continue to build on youthful players at the offensive line position.”
Helton Talks USC's Secondary
“We got a little bit short at corner with Jayden [Williams] being out, so having the availability and the versatility of [freshman] Calen Bullock to [play] safety, possibly corner when needed, that just [increases] his stock" said Helton.
"I thought the secondary played lights out. I see the development that Donte Williams and Craig Naivar have done within [Todd Orlando's] system, and you watch guys all over the field make plays today."
"Chris Steele, who we expect that from, made a big play in the game. But [it] was really nice to see Joshua Jackson Jr. come up with a nice play in the game too."
"It was good to see four new safeties out there today, Xamarion [Gordon], Anthony [Beavers Jr.], Xavion [Alford] and Calen [Bullock].
For them to be able to get that work and just be here, just setting foot on campus and getting experience like this, it is invaluable. I like where we are, really a lot. I think our secondary was a little bit worried coming into camp, it may end up being one of our strengths of our team by the end of it.”
Helton Talks USC's Defensive Line Spring Performance
“I’ll start out at the interior nose position where I have been extremely pleased with the opportunity Jay Toia and Jamar Sekona have gotten and what they have been doing. They’ve had a sense of urgency to be great from day one of winter workouts. They weren’t in the best of shape, especially Jay. They worked their butts off for eight weeks and they have carried over into this spring camp really making the most out of their opportunities. It is great to have Jake Lichtenstein back too in this camp.
We haven’t gotten to see Jake play in awhile and to see what he’s doing on the defensive front has been great too. You know, we know the names but really the people I have been proud of have been those two interior young people, who are making the most out of their opportunity.”
Helton Talks Freshman WR Michael Jackson II
“He made two really nice one handed catches. One on the sideline with a great thrown ball by Jaxson [Dart] and then another one at the end of the game.
What I’ve appreciated [from] Michael [Jackson III] thus far is the game doesn’t look too big for him right now. You know sometimes you get a young person who comes in from high school, especially early, and sometimes they have to catch up" said Helton.
"Mike from day one has just stepped onto the field and acts like he belongs [here]. It's great to see him make plays today. Obviously we’re a little down at the receiving core right now so to have a true freshman that steps up and makes plays like that today is a great thing to see. He is building confidence in us as a staff and I think he is building confidence within that quarterback group too.”
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Promo Photo John McGillen/USC Athletics