The Trojans concluded spring ball drills with the annual Trojan Huddle on Saturday at the Coliseum. The scrimmage featured a pretty solid display by the USC defense as they swarmed to the ball and frustrated the offense for much of the first half. All told there were 15 tackles for loss and five sacks on the day. Among the top stars were the entire defensive line, Dallas Sartz and Lofa Tatupu. The bright spots on offense were usually provided by Hershel Dennis who continues to perform day in and day out. Matt Leinart and Brandon Hance got the majority of work at quarterback with Leinart throwing the only touchdown pass on a nice completion to Mike Williams. Justin Wyatt had the most electrifying play when he returned a punt 85 yards for a score.
The scrimmage began with a pair of kickoffs by Ryan Kileen. The first one was returned by D Hale from 3 yards deep in the end zone and he was tackled hard at the 14 yard line by Lofa Tatupu. The next kick went to Jason Mitchell and he got it past the 20 before a tackle by Greg Farr.
Matt Leinart came out with the first team offense after being moved to the top of the depth chart yesterday by Coach Pete Carroll. Leinart was joined by Hershel Dennis and Lee Webb in the backfield, Mike Williams and Keary Colbert at receiver, Dominique Byrd at TE and an OL of Rogers, Vandermade, Katnik, Matua and Justice. The offense went against the first team defense which featured Udeze, Ramsey, Patterson and Nazel on the line, Groots, Tatupu and Simmons at LB and Arbet, Buchanan, Bing and Leach in the secondary.
Hershel took the opening handoff and went off RG where he was met immediately by Patterson for no gain. A pitch to Dennis was foiled when Tatupu came in and made the stop for a one-yard loss. Leinart dropped back and hit Williams who made a real nice one-handed catch as he was going out of bounds but the refs ruled that he didn't have possession in bounds.
Hance led the offense on the field and on his first play he hit Nick Vanderboom in the flat and Nick was all by himself so he turned upfield for 25 yards before John Walker came over to make the play. Hance went right back to Vanderboom for 8 more yards before a Chris Bocage tackle. Dennis took a handoff and followed a block from Kyle Williams for 9 yards and a first down before Frostee Rucker tracked him down for the tackle. Van Brown batted down a pass from Hance. Brown then beat Nate Steinbacher to get Hershel for a one-yard loss. Hance tried a slant pass but Sartz got in the lane and bobbled the pick that would've gone for a touchdown the other way. Kileen missed a 45 yard field goal to the right.
Leinart hit Lee Webb on a swing pass that went for 16 yards before a tackle by Jason Leach. A Dennis run got 3 yards and then Leinart dropped back to look for Williams deep but Bing had coverage and so Matt dumped the ball to Hale for a two yard gain with another Leach tackle. Dennis made an amazing cutback move to gain 7 yards and a first down. Leinart stumbled as he tripped over a lineman's foot coming out from center, the next pass was incomplete and then Dennis took a pitch only to find Nazel and Leach waiting for him at the line for no gain. Malone came on for the punt.
Hance delivered a well thrown pass on the sidelines to Williams for a 17 yard gain with a Bobby Otani tackle. Hershel went up the middle with Ross stopping him after three yards. Andre Woodert came in and his carry was held to no gain on a nice play by Travis Tofi. Ryan Ting came on a corner blitz for a sack to force a Tom Malone punt which was blocked by Morgan Craig.
A pooch kickoff was returned by Darnell Bing past the 50 yard line. Leinart threw his first pass down the middle to Byrd and it was a little low but Dom caught the ball in stride for a 20 yard gain and a tackle by Kyle Matthews. Leinart tried to hit Williams on a fade by underthrowing the ball a little and Mike almost came down with the catch but was battled hard by John Walker. Leinart tried to hand the ball off to Justin Wyatt but Travis Tofi came in quickly and met the ball as it was being exchanged to force a fumble. It was an incredibly quick play by Tofi. Frostee Rucker came in for a sack.
Hance dropped back with pressure from Udeze which forced him to miss an open Byrd but that didn't stop Groots from giving Dom a little pop.
The best drive of the day got started with Leinart going over the middle to Byrd for 12 yards with a Ross tackle. Matt then did some play action and threw a perfect 25 yard pass to Mike Williams but the ball bounced right off his chest and to the ground. A Dennis run was held to t