Spring Ball Day 9

It was one of the more spirited practices we've seen this spring as the heat was turned up a notch in the quarterback competition. The Trojans were in full pads with Matt Cassel and Matt Leinart getting an extended look and both quarterbacks performed well. Overall it was a very good day for the offense.

One of the hardest parts of the game for any quarterback who gets limited reps in practice is the opportunity to get into a rhythm so the coaches split up the scrimmage situations between Cassel and Leinart today.  Both QB's seemed to grow with confidence as the day went along and the competitive juices began to flow.  Next it will be time for Brandon Hance and Billy Hart to get their turn to show what they can do.


Here are the scrimmage highlights for both players:




Matt threw a touchdown to Mike Williams.  He hit Williams again for a deep pass down the middle but Mike fumbled the ball at the end of the play with a resulting scrum that took several minutes to untangle.  Matt had a pass batted down at the line by a blitzing Darnell Bing.  Matt hit Williams once again for 18 yards and then stepped up into the pocket to connect with Dom Byrd who had gotten behind Matt Grootegoed.  Matt was throwing the ball well and looked to be in control of the team until the d-line had a couple nice plays to mess up his timing at one point.  It began with Omar Nazel batting down a ball at the line.  Frostee Rucker then came in and tipped a pass in the air which was caught by Kenechi Udeze who began a ramble to the end zone before being tracked down and tackled.  On his next possession Matt rolled nicely to his left and hit D. Hale for 15 yards despite good coverage from Will Buchanan.  Cassel then had time to throw thanks to a terrific block by Hershel Dennis on Udeze and Matt found Dom Byrd down the middle for a touchdown.  On his last drive, which was a two-minute drill, Matt threw to Hershel in the flat who was driven out by Dallas Sartz.  He hit a dragging Justin Wyatt and then came right back to Wyatt on the sidelines.  His last pass to Williams was complete inside the ten but time was running out and the offense settled for a Kileen field goal.




Leinart is known as a player who steps his game up in competitive settings and that was certainly true today with a good performance.  It started with a pass to the sidelines for Greig Carlson that was batted down on a real nice play from Buchanan.  Leinart came right back to the same side of the field to a wide open Wyatt for a big pick-up and then he threw a rope over the middle to Dom Byrd on a pass that threaded two defenders.  Lee Webb caught a short pass after doing a good job of running to a spot and squaring around to receive the ball.  Matt completed a slant to Chris McFoy and then a short pass to Wyatt was stopped on a sandwich tackle by Groots and Bing.  Leinart finished the drive by hitting Hale for a touchdown.  On his next drive Sartz sacked Leinart on the first play.  Matt came back and hit Nick Vanderboom, the former walk-on QB who has moved to TE, and Nick took the slant pass and lowered his shoulder to absolutely steamroll one of the Tings (not sure which one).  It was a play that brought several players off the sidelines to cheer.  Matt then had good time thanks to another good pass protection block by Dennis and he hit Sandy Fletcher on a slant.  Van Brown knocked down a pass at the line and the d-line was getting some pressure so Hershel popped one up the middle for 20 yards.  Matt then hit Mike Williams for a touchdown.  On his final drive, which was also a two-minute drill, Matt bounced a pass to Sandy Fletcher, had another incompletion and then had a good pass bounce off the chest of Williams.  Facing fourth down Leinart tried to throw the slant again to Williams but Darnell Bing read the play and stepped in front for the pick that was returned for a score to end the practice. 


Craig Fertig brought his Estancia HS team to practice and Pete Carroll spoke to the team before the day began.  It was great to see Fertig interacting with his players and showing them what to watch for during the day, it's easy to see why he's known as "the Coach". 


Carroll took some snaps at QB during a defensive skeleton passing drill on Brian Kennedy Field.  The un-official scouting report on PC today would be "decent dropback, pretty good arm strength but needs work on his accuracy".  Carroll ended the drill with style as his last pass was a deep touchdown completion to walk-on Steve LeVario who had beaten Darnell Bing


One field goal attempt during the scrimmage was a bad snap and holder Tom Malone did his best Garo Yepremian impression as he tried to throw a pass with Melvin Simmons in his face and the ball was intercepted by a leaping Danny Urquhart.

Injury updates: Several injured players dressed today but did not participate in practice including Shaun Cody, Marcell Allmond, Ronald Nunn and Kevin Arbet.  Jacob Rogers sat out most of the practice with a sore shoulder, Kurt Katnik left practice and was diagnosed with a broken bone in his right hand (Kurt was wearing #85 today and was hoping to get a look at tight end with Alex Holmes missing practice) and David Kirtman also was on the sidelines late in the day with a sore ankle. 

USCFootball.com Top Stories