Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's scrimmage at the Coliseum, the Trojans' last before the regular season begins a week from today in Hawaii:
Again, the Trojans were mediocre -- despite the new surroundings. The nearly empty Coliseum provided for an interesting backdrop, but the lack of energy Lane Kiffin lamented earlier in the week held true.
Perhaps the most telling statistic of the starters' struggles Thursday is this one: the scout-team defense -- going against Barkley and the first teamers -- forced two turnovers. The first-team defense -- going against walk-on John Manoogian and the scout-team offense -- failed to force any. High-profile talents Dillon Baxter and Miami transfer Thearon Collier were on the scout team, though.
In a bit of good news, freshman quarterback Jesse Scroggins has been officially cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center to resume practicing with the Trojans. USC is still waiting on defensive back Demetrius Wright's case with the NCAA. Kiffin said Thursday that the Trojans had initially expected Wright's situation to be resolved prior to Scroggins'.
Injury updates: both projected starting offensive guards -- Butch Lewis and Khaled Holmes -- remain limited, although Lewis appears on track to start next Thursday's game. Holmes' situation is a bit more fluid, although Kiffin said he would "hopefully" be back in practice Saturday. He's missed much of the last week with a neck stinger. Defensive end Nick Perry (ankle) is still out and getting close to the time he would need to return to adequately prepare to play against Hawaii.
On-field highlights: redshirt sophomore receiver Brice Butler made an impressive grab of a 29-yard touchdown throw from Barkley, reaching up and over two defenders in the right corner of the end zone and making good use of his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. Walk-on linebacker Will Andrew jumped what looked to be an out-route throw from Barkley, picked it off and took it back for a 25-yard score -- creating quite a bit of noise from the scout-team sideline at the Coliseum. Left tackle Matt Kalil blocked a field-goal attempt from walk-on kicker Craig McMahon.
A witty Kiffin, on a 2017-2018 home-and-home series with Texas, announced today by USC: "I'd be real excited if I was still here. We'll worry about that seven years from now. I hope I'm here, but I'm not really worried about the schedule seven years from now. We're worried abou the game seven days from now."
The kick and punt return positions appear to be decided, judging by the allocation of reps Thursday: senior receiver Ronald Johnson will likely return punts; freshman receiver Robert Woods will be the primary kick returner. Both players could see time at both spots.
Final notes: The Trojans are off Friday before returning to Howard Jones Field for 10:30 a.m. practices on Saturday and Sunday....A depth chart for the Hawaii game is expected to be released Friday afternoon. The position battles at running back, middle linebacker, split end and returner have been publicized throughout the fall, but Hebron Fangupo has put on a late rush to challenge for what was expected to be DaJohn Harris' job at nose tackle. The starter at that spot could be a surprise.
Matt Barkley 15-24 255 yards 3 TDs 2 INT
John Manoogian 13-21 104 yards
Marc Tyler 5-5, 1 TD
Allen Bradford 2-14
C.J. Gable 3-33
Dillon Baxter 6-70
Ronald Johnson 3-38
Robert Woods 3-24, 1 TD
Jordan Cameron 2-75, 1 TD
Will Andrew 5 tackles, 25-yard INT returned for a TD
Cody Romness 4 tackles, 1 INT
Jurrell Casey 4 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks
James Boyd 4 tackles, 2 TFL
Simione Vehikite 4 tackles, 2 TFL
Hebron Fangupo 3 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks
Devon Kennard has not been officially named as the Trojans' starter at middle linebacker -- but it's getting close. Chris Galippo spent essentially all of Thursday's scrimmage backing up Kennard at Mike.
After the scrimmage, Kennard talked about Galippo's ability to switch freely between the three linebacker spots, his own ability to cover slot receivers against a team like Hawaii and more.
Hear what he had to say: