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2020 Fall Camp Report #3: Graham Harrell Previews USC's Offense

Oct 13, 2020

USC's offense took great strides under OC Graham Harrell's scheme last year and is looking to make improvements heading into Year 2.

  • According to Harrell, "success is going to start up front," so he's excited that OL Alijah Vera-Tucker changed his mind and decided to come back for another year at USC. "I feel really good about where we're at with the offensive line," he said. "Especially with AVT coming back, that was really important for us. He's a great football player and he's played a lot of football. He makes us better at that position."
  • Vera-Tucker said that a nagging question in the back of his mind led him to reverse course and re-join the team this year. "Why not come back and compete with my brothers?" he asked. "Compete for a Pac-12 Championship. I looked at all the pros and cons and thought it was a good idea for me to come back and compete with my brothers."
  • Brett Neilon, the starting center, is also glad to have Vera-Tucker back. "Alijah is a phenomenal player and brings a lot of experience back for us," he said. "And he's also one of my best friends, so that's huge for chemistry."
  • USC's latest class of offensive linemen will take some time to build chemistry, but Neilon said one thing stands out about them already. "The first thing that stands out is their size," he noted. "Very big group, very long group … And they're actually grasping the offense really well so far."
  • USC's receivers, meanwhile, stand out for a number of different reasons. Harrell said that with Michael Pittman Jr. graduated to the NFL, Drake London can expect a bigger role than he had as a freshman. "Drake London is as talented of a player as I've been around," Harrell said. "To combine the size that he has with his body control, his ball skills, his toughness, I think he creates natural matchup problems for people. Like a lot of those elite tight ends in the NFL, he's a similar matchup issue because if you put someone small on him he can manhandle him and he' just bigger. And if you put someone big on him, he's too athletic."
  • USC's younger receivers are hoping to break out like London did last year. "Bru [McCoy] is still working into it, but when he's in there, he's different," said Harrell. "He's very explosive, he's hard to cover, because not only is he explosive, he's also really strong and big. He's a fun guy to have."