Behind The Kicks

ABE

Although the Andre Heidari-Matthew Boermeester kicking battle was getting most of the attention, Steve Sarkisian might be more worried about the other parts of the kicks. Walk-on Conner Sullivan is the holder while Peter McBride’s been snapping while expected-snapper Zach Smith is hurt.

Sarkisian’s been critical at times of the snaps and holds on kicks. Remember, poor blocking and kicking on field goals cost USC victories over Washington State and Notre Dame last year, so it’s a critical issue.

Andre Heidari Wins Kicking Job

HEIDARIUSC coach Steve Sarkisian said after practice that senior Andre Heidari will be the Trojans’ kicker. Heidari rebounded from a poor start during training camp. Perhaps Sarkisian should tell him the job is contingent on not acting like this during games.

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick Update

I previously mentioned ineligible tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick petitioned for a grade change to regain his eligibility. USC’s also petitioned the NCAA the allow Cope-Fitzpatrick to continue practicing in the fall because he will be below the required 12 units. There’s been no developments regarding his grade-change petition.

Rick Neuheisel Picks UCLA Over USC In Pac-12 South

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Pac-12 Network analyst Rick Neuheisel, who visited USC yesterday and UCLA today, said he picks the Bruins to win the Pac-12 South.

`If USC stays healthy, they will be a really good team,” he said. “One thing (Steve Sarkisian) needs to realize is the numbers (of scholarship players) is different than at Washington.”

In above picture, Juju Smith makes a catch over Su’a Cravens at Wednesday’s practice. Photo gallery here David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News

Bryce Dixon Bulks Up

Tight end Bryce Dixon said he has gone from 215 pounds in high school to 241 at USC. He carries the weight well and will probably get even bigger but the fact he went to St. Bonaventure brings to mind the saga of Whitney Lewis, the St. Bonnie grad who went from 200 pounds to 240 when he showed up at USC.

Lewis never regained the speed he had in high school and tried tailback before transferring to Northern Iowa. He was considered the top prep wide receiver in the nation before he bulked up.

Freshmen Influencing Depth Chart

Adoree Jackson and Juju Smith (above) are just two of the true freshmen making an impact. Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama look like they will start on the offensive line while Ajene Harris starts at slot back. Here’s my story on the freshmen class making an immediate impact:

“It already looks like one of (Lane) Kiffin’s fears — that the recruiting class would not be up to USC’s usual standards because of doubts about his future — will not be realized.”