Matt Fink, Jack Sears Battle to Replace Sam Darnold at USC Spring Practice 2018


USC Trojans head coach Clay Helton in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

With Sam Darnold headed to the NFL, USC Trojans coach Clay Helton had a chance to evaluate his quarterback situation during spring practice.

That continued this weekend at Cromwell Field in Los Angeles.

Rather than an official spring game, USC held its final spring practice on Saturday. And with a chance to see some April football, fans were sure to get a first look at the team, as the Los Angeles Times‘ Lindsey Thiry captured:

No spring game today. But here’s a look at the crowd that turned out for USC’s final spring practice.

All eyes were on the quarterbacks, redshirt sophomore Matt Fink and redshirt freshman Jack Sears. Ryan Abraham of tweeted out video of each signal-caller:

Here is Matt Fink throwing a pass.

And here is Jack Sears throwing a pass.

And while the arms will decide the position battle, Fink had a chance to impress everyone with his wheels, as USC’s official Twitter account showed:

Touchdown, @FinkMattfink! 🏃🙌

📺: @Pac12Network


Fink noted afterward that he believed that his performance during spring practice bodes well for his chances of winning the starting job, via ABC 7’s Angel Viscarra:

I asked #USC quarterback Matt Fink if he feels he made healthy progress in the QB competition this spring.

While it may be a two-passer battle right now, Helton told reporters, via Keely Eure of, that incoming freshman JT Daniels will be able to compete for the job in this summer’s player-run practices. The coach made it clear, per Eure, that there is still a long way to go in the competition.

With Ronald Jones II also turning pro, redshirt sophomore tailback Vavae Malepeai had a chance to make a case for snaps:

USC RB @vavaeee punches it in and with that, spring ball comes to a close!


Helton revealed that it was a simple game plan, but he was also pleased with how his team played. In fact, he went as far to say that it was a “good day.”

Afterward, cornerback Iman Marshall showed some love to his teammates, via Viscarra:

#USC cornerback Iman Marshall chats about how the other corners on the team stepped in for Jack Jones this spring.

Trojans linebacker Porter Gustin believes this year’s defense is more mature than it was at this point last year:

I asked #USC linebacker Porter Gustin about where he feels this team is post-spring this year, versus last year.

Helton broke down spring practice with reporters after it concluded, via USC Athletics:

There’s no question that the quarterback competition will continue to be the talk of the fanbase—but it’s nowhere near over. Although replacing Darnold will not be easy, Helton gave his passers credit for improving both their decision-making and their accuracy.

Spring practice is a valuable time for every player on the roster, with more inexperienced players having an opportunity to prove themselves. At the end of this year’s spring practice, Helton believes his squad is in a good place, with still room for improvement.

USC kicks off the 2018 season against UNLV on Sept. 1.


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