LOS ANGELES – As the grind of training camp continues on, new USC wide receivers coach Tee Martin has tried to liven things up a bit for his position group.
Martin and his wide receivers have become known to challenge each other in various drills at the conclusion of practice. After a recent practice, Martin said he was going to throw the ball some 50 yards down field and challenged his receivers to see who could run under the ball and make the catch.
Robert Woods tried and couldn’t do it.
Marqise Lee had the same result.
Then it was George Farmer’s turn. He successfully accomplished the feat.
At this point, all of the receivers had ditched their pads. Farmer was still in his full practice garb – shoulder pads and shorts – and made the catch. Running back D.J. Morgan was the only other to complete the challenge.
But Farmer stuck out.
“George is fast,” Lee said. “I think every yard he gets faster.”
It was monumental for Farmer as well. Not because he was able to make the catch but because he was able to accelerate to do so. It’s the first time he’s been able to turn on the jets since the spring.
“That was my first time actually, really running full speed, getting out of my routes and really digging,” he said. “It felt pretty good.”
Farmer started the spring with a bang after being moved back to his natural wide receiver position from running back. After a couple of really good practices, he missed the remainder of the spring and also majority of fall camp, to this point, with a hamstring injury.
He says he’s now healthy.
“I’m 100 percent,” Farmer said. “I’m good.”
During his time away with injury, Farmer focused on his rehab and also says he spent a lot of time in the film room. He’s confident he can now join the competition for the Trojans’ third wide receiver spot behind his former Serra High School teammates Robert Woods and Lee.
Watching from the sidelines, Farmer acknowledges he has “a lot” of ground to make up. Redshirt junior De’Von Flournoy has asserted himself as the guy to beat for the third spot, although he has been pushed by freshman Nelson Agholor.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin said the next two weeks are “huge” for Farmer.
“He doesn’t have to express it to me,” Farmer said of Kiffin’s comments. “I kind of know that the next two weeks are critical so I’m out here giving it my best. I’m doing everything I can off of the field –watching extra film and stuff. I’m just ready to go.”
Woods is encouraged by seeing his longtime teammate back on the field.
“It’s good to see him out here getting reps (and) going out here full go and I just want to see him stay healthy and keep going out here because he’s definitely a playmaker,” Woods said.
The basis behind Martin’s drill is improving the wide receiver’s ability to track and locate the ball while it’s in the air. Farmer showed his ability to do that and had the speed to back it up. His teammates think there’s something to take from that.
“The old George (is) back,” Lee said. “I couldn’t run under the ball. He made it. Robert couldn’t run under the ball.”