One player got a pink boa, another got a hammer and a third received an axe. But no one is divulging the players’ identities.
First-year USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford handed out his first postgame awards this week; he brought the tradition with him from Illinois.
The pink boa goes to a player who struggled the previous game — and is sure to be ragged by his teammates. The axe and hammer are positive awards that go to linemen who are credited with certain kinds of knockdowns of defenders.
“Normally for a guard, (the hammer) is whenever a tackle (blocks) an end, and the guard gets to blindside the guy. That’s my favorite,” guard T.J. Johnson said.
Johnson, like Wolford the previous day, declined to say who earned the awards. But Johnson likely received either the hammer or the axe, after grading out at 100 percent Thursday against N.C. State.
Coach Steve Spurrier had mild praise for the line, even though the offense scored only one touchdown.
“The offensive line probably graded better than last year, when we scored 34 points against N.C. State,” Spurrier said. “They played pretty well. We had some struggles here and there, but that’s happened a lot.”
Still, Johnson said it wasn’t all positive, even for him.
“They might say stuff to the media, but they got on me pretty good,” Johnson said of the coaches.
Getting some push-back. Receiver Tori Gurley shed light on his pass-interference penalty against the Wolfpack, which negated what would have been a long touchdown pass.
Gurley, a redshirt freshman, was called for pushing off on the cornerback.
“While the ball was in the air, I had a flashback,” Gurley said. “Every day Stephon Gilmore and I, we’ve always been put in those jump-ball situations. Him being one of the best defensive backs in the country, his first reaction is to grab my hand. So usually I go up with one hand to try to catch the ball. I figured the defensive back from North Carolina State was going to grab me before I got to him. So it was more of a reaction.”
Gurley pointed out that when Gilmore broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone late in the game, Gilmore used the same technique he does when going up against Gurley in practice.
“I’m going to continue to work on that,” Gurley said. “It was a mistake. I wish it would’ve counted, but hopefully, over time, I get that call.”
Receiver rotation. Junior Dion LeCorn and freshman Alshon Jeffery moved onto the two-deep depth chart this week. LeCorn, who broke his leg in the spring game, practiced this week for the first time. Jeffery played briefly at N.C. State.
“Alshon is definitely one of our top five, six guys right now,” Spurrier said. “If he has a chance to play, hopefully some good things will happen and he’ll move into the top three or so.”
He said it. “It’s just a whole other atmosphere, (the) SEC. I’ve heard all about the ACC and the SEC, the differences and all. But now it’s actually game week, and you can just feel the difference. The practice is more up-tempo and everybody’s just trying to get ready. We watched film on (Georgia). We can’t play like we did against N.C. State to be able to beat these guys. We’ve gotta step it up for sure.”