Monday, August 20, 2012
Sunday scrimmage quick hits
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- Here are news, notes and stats from Sunday's evening scrimmage session for the Trojans, held at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. We'll have more coverage from the session, including a look into Marqise Lee's personal-foul penalty that got him taken out of the action and a report on the plan to force more turnovers as a defense.
Bad day for the offense
The circumstances weren't exactly great, as many of the first-team Trojans began the scrimmage watching from exercise bikes on the sidelines while Lane Kiffin reserved live-tackling drills for the backups.
But the USC offense just didn't perform well on Sunday. Matt Barkley and the first-team unit didn't, and neither did Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and the second unit. It looked ugly, all-around, from start to finish, with few positive blips in between.
"We struggled today," Lee said. "I think we weren't really focused here and there. That's really about it."
Kiffin said it wasn't any of the quarterbacks' fault, choosing instead to blame it on overall inefficiency from the group. He also found a positive aspect of it.
"There's not just one person to blame or anything," Kiffin said. "We didn't play well in any of our position groups for the most part. But there's always two sides to that. It means we were doing some good things on the other side as well."
Among the players who sat out of the scrimmage due to injury were right tackle Kevin Graf, defensive ends Wes Horton, J.R. Tavai and Greg Townsend Jr, linebackers Dion Bailey and Lamar Dawson (calf) and cornerbacks Torin Harris (hamstring) and Brian Baucham.
Woods, Lee, Curtis McNeal, Nickell Robey and T.J. McDonald all began their days on exercise bikes on the sidelines before participating in the lighter portion of the session. Barkley and Khaled Holmes also logged a limited amount of snaps during the live-tackling part of practice.
Penn State transfer Silas Redd, who led all ballcarriers with nine carries for 59 yards, fumbled on the first play of the scrimmage when he was stripped by freshman cornerback Kevon Seymour. The ball was recovered by defensive tackle Antwaun Woods.
Redd later said the fumble was caused by a shoulder stinger he suffered in recent days, which left him vulnerable to defenders trying to force the ball away from him.
"I got hit in the shoulder and my arm went numb a little bit, and then the ball got poked out," Redd said. "Still, no excuses, though. I should've had two hands on the ball."
Redd added that he was a sure-handed runner in his two seasons as a Nittany Lion, although he did fumble twice in one game against Illinois last season in State College.
Barkley finished 8-of-19 for 119 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Kessler completed 3-of-8 passes for 29 yards and a touchdown; Wittek threw two picks and completed just 6-of-16 passes for 104 yards.
In the run game, D.J. Morgan was second behind Redd with seven carries for 31 yards and a touchdown, Buck Allen carried six times for 31 yards and McNeal went five times for 23 yards.
Woods led all receivers with four catches for 67 yards and Nelson Agholor, a freshman, added three for 33. Victor Blackwell had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown, and Soma Vainuku had one 25-yard scoring grab.
Josh Shaw had two deflections on defense and Gerald Bowman had one, which led to a pick. Linebackers Tony Burnett and Jabari Ruffin tied for the team lead with four tackles.
Final notes: Receiver De'Von Flournoy looked to be the victim of a late hit by Jawanza Starling in the first half of scrimmage action and stayed down for a minute or two while being attended to by team trainers. ...Receiver George Farmer had a kick return go for nearly 50 yards. ...Kiffin said Sunday's scrimmage would be the hardest-hitting practice the Trojans hold all fall. ...USC returns to practice on campus on Monday afternoon and will practice in the afternoons for the rest of this week before returning to 7:45 a.m. start times on August 28.