Pac-12: Greg Townsend Jr.

Five things to watch: USC-Hawaii

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
5:32
PM ET

The No. 1-ranked USC Trojans begin their 2012 season on Saturday against Hawaii (4:30 p.m. PT) at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Here are five things to watch:

1. Who's playing? Because of Lane Kiffin's new injury-reporting restrictions that began this week, we don't know which of the Trojans' injured players will be playing on Saturday. It certainly creates some mystique around this opener, as there's really no telling who was practicing this week and who wasn't. Among the players who missed all or most of USC's Saturday scrimmage, the last day injuries were allowed to be reported, were receiver George Farmer, tight ends Randall Telfer and Christian Thomas, defensive tackle Leonard Williams, defensive ends Wes Horton and Greg Townsend Jr., linebacker Lamar Dawson, cornerback Torin Harris and safety Demetrius Wright.

2. Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal. The expectation is that McNeal will start, because he's been at USC longer and been successful with all of his opportunities. But Redd's first three-plus weeks in a USC uniform have gone about as well as the Trojans could have expected. The early-season competition between the two to decide who the primary back will be might be more interesting than the battle between Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, because we don't yet have any idea of how Kiffin plans to use Redd in games. Here's guessing both guys will get about 15 touches on Saturday, with another 5-10 for D.J. Morgan.

(Read full post)

South division scrimmage roundup

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
11:00
AM ET
Catching up on the scrimmages and spring games in the south division.

ARIZONA

The Wildcats quarterbacks combined for six passing touchdowns -- including four from Matt Scott, who completed 22 of 35 passes for 315 yards. Arizona threw 55 times and ran 43 times in addition to working through several different scenarios.

“I shouldn’t expect too much with the first year in the system, but with Matt Scott I’m going to expect a lot,” head coach Rich Rodriguez told the Tucson Citizen. “And I think Matt can deliver.”

Tyler Slavin caught three touchdowns and Richard Morrison caught a pair. Dan Buckner hauled in the sixth.

Safety Marquis Flowers brought in the lone interception of the day and linebacker Jake Fischer matched a team high with six tackles after missing all of 2011 with a knee injury.

The day was marred, however, by another knee injury. Safety Adam Hall tweeted Saturday night that he tore his ACL -- a similar tear to the one he had last spring that kept him out of all but one game in 2011.

ARIZONA STATE

The three-way quarterback competition isn't settled, but head coach Todd Graham said he'd like to see someone take the lead before the end of the spring session, writes Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic.

Michael Eubank threw three touchdowns -- a pair to Gary Chambers and a third to Rashad Ross. But he also threw a pair of interceptions.

Haller reports that Taylor Kelly looked effecient, throwing an 11-yard touchdown to tight end Max Smith and Mike Bercovici tossed three touchdowns -- all in the overtime session of the scrimmage.

Defensively, the Sun Devils forced a trio of turnovers and three times stopped the offense on fourth-and-1.

COLORADO

The Buffs ran a 42-play scrimmage with the emphasis on the offense. Head coach Jon Embree said he was happy with the performance of Connor Wood, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 137 yards and touchdowns to Jarrod Darden and Dustin Ebner.

"I thought No. 5 was sharp," Embree said. "He missed a couple of deep balls ... but I thought he played well."

Embree also said that running back Tony Jones separated himself from the rest of the pack and looked solid during the spring session. Jones carried four times for 23 yards on Saturday. Josh Ford, however, stood out with 141 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries -- though Colorado's defensive line has been patchwork.

Embree said that if Colorado wants to reach a bowl game in 2012, they are going to have to rely on some of the players coming in this fall.

"I still think it's achievable, but how far we go towards that goal and how we accomplish it, we're going to lean on some guys coming in," Embree said. "So how quickly -- and I told this to the seniors and the rest of the team -- how quickly you're able to help them assimilate, help them know how to practice, know how to work, will help us get to that goal.

"If you want to look at it as they're the bad guy because they coming here to compete for a job, then we'll all have the same fate -- we'll all be home for Christmas."

USC

The Trojans secondary picked up a pair of interceptions -- one from safety Drew McAllister off of Cody Kessler and the other from cornerback Brian Baucham off of Matt Barkley -- as the defense outshined the offense at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Barkley completed 23 of 39 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown -- a 1-yard pass to Marqise Lee. Kessler (3-of-6, 68 yards) picked up the majority of his passing yards on a 44-yard touchdown to fullback Soma Vainuku.

"It was definitely a learning experience," Kessler told USC's blog.

Linebacker Hayes Pullard and cornerback Anthony Brown each had six tackles, while linebacker Dion Bailey added five stops. Cornerback Isiah Wiley had five deflections to go with his four tackles. There were three sacks (by defensive ends Devon Kennard, Greg Townsend Jr. and Morgan Breslin).

"I think the young linebackers are playing really well," Lane Kiffin told Erik McKinney of WeAreSC. "Like I mentioned, the defensive backs have improved a lot. That was really critical, especially with a new coach back there."

UTAH

Quarterback Jordan Wynn completed 7 of 12 passes for 149 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions as the Utes' offense continues to find its rhythm under new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson.

“Brian wants to take more shots downfield than we have recently and we can do that now because we have the speed in the wideouts to create separation and we have quarterbacks who can throw with accuracy,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Our quarterback situation is the best it has been in years."

Dave Kruger, LT Filiaga and Trevor Reilly all recorded sacks for the defense and Terrell Reese returned an interception for 43 yards to go with a pair of tackles for a loss.

Luke Matthews and Kenneth Scott both had touchdown catches. DeVonte Christopher had two catches, but led the receivers with 70 yards.

WeAreSC links: Making adjustments

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
6:48
PM ET
Erik McKinney writes Insider: A rundown of USC's fifth spring practice, highlighted by sophomore DT George Uko's positive response after being demoted to the second team.

Garry Paskwietz writes: Scott Starr gave up his last semester at Norco (Calif.) High School to join USC early. He's glad he did that, as there has been a considerable adjustment to college for Starr.

Greg Katz writes Insider: After redshirting last season, Greg Townsend Jr., the son of former Raiders All-Pro defensive end Greg Townsend, is adjusting to being moved to defensive tackle.

Erik McKinney writes Insider: As much as the coaching staff is trying to temper expectations, the move of sophomore Tre Madden from LB to RB has been a successful one thus far.

Erik McKinney writes Insider: After academic troubles last season put him at the end of the depth chart, senior cornerback Brian Baucham is making a positive impression during spring ball.

WeAreSC podcast: Garry Paskwietz and Erik McKinney preview the first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.

SPONSORED HEADLINES