USC finds a dependable young receiver at tailback – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — There was a lot of extra work going on at USC after Tuesday’s practice.

Quarterback Sam Darnold threw passes to a quartet of wide receivers. Offensive coordinator Tee Martin worked with a group of receivers in a corner of the field.

One would almost think the Trojans dropped some passes against Texas.

“It seemed like they took turns dropping the ball,” Martin said.

Three games into the season, the wide receiver situation is more muddled than it was a month ago. Deontay Burnett remains the No. 1 wide receiver. But No. 2 Steven Mitchell did not practice after injuring his groin at the end of the Texas game. No. 3 Jalen Greene dropped a pass that turned into an interception return for a touchdown against Texas. No. 4 Tyler Vaughns dropped a potential winning touchdown catch in overtime. And No. 5 Velus Jones had a deep pass hit him in the arm and fall incomplete.

“We had an uncharacteristic night,” Martin said.

Asked if it was tough to sleep Saturday night, Martin said, “No, (the loss to) Alabama was really hard.”

When will it get better? Not soon based on the refusal to infuse young talent into games. Freshman Joseph Lewis finally caught a pass Saturday but did not practice Tuesday because of rib/pectoral muscle injury. Another young receiver, Josh Imatorbhebhe, has not played in two of the first three games. Don’t even ask where Randal Grimes or Trevon Sidney fit in to the offense.

“They’re just young, man,” USC quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton said. “We can’t wait to see them mature.”

At this point, check back in 2018.

But there is one freshman receiver who is exceeding expectations. He just happens to be a tailback. Stephen Carr looks more comfortable making catches than anyone other than Burnett and was a star of the Texas game with his 21-yard reception of Darnold’s jump-pass to help set up the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.

“I never saw Sam, I just saw the ball in the air,” Carr said.

That was enough because Carr’s hands make him an extraordinary dual-threat tailback.

“If you watched him in 7-on-7 (when he was in high school), his hands were unbelievable,” Martin said.

The play even raised Carr’s profile on campus.

“Everyone at USC is asking about it,” he said.

But Carr’s highlight did not exclude him from criticism when he met with USC running backs coach Deland McCullough.

“We were blessed up to this point, he hadn’t shown the freshmen jitters,” McCullough said….

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