Notebook: USC spring game

USC held its spring game Saturday in front of over 15,000 fans in the Coliseum. Head coach Lane Kiffin said the scrimmage reflected the last 14 spring practices the Trojans have held...

Lee steals the show
No surprise here, Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee stole the show Saturday during the Trojans spring game.

Lee made eight catches for 148 yards including two touchdowns. No doubt impressive numbers for the junior who missed three weeks of practice with a knee injury.

The only question regarding Lee going into the fall is whether or not the Trojans will over-rely on him and essentially overuse him.

Oh and start keeping track of this. Lee said his goal for the season is to not drop any passes. Is that realistic? "Yeah.." Lee said during the post-scrimmage press conference. "That's a goal, I'm going to make it happen."

People, you might sit here and think ‘oh, going the whole season without dropping the ball'," he continued, "Me, I think ‘it's possible'."

No number one
No one actually expected Kiffin to name a starting quarterback after spring camp and barring a huge surprise when the depth chart is released Monday, no starter will be named.

The head coach won't even speculate as to whom, if anyone, is slightly leading in the race.

"All three quarterbacks did some really good things," Kiffin said. "I think they made really good decisions."

The only negative the head coach pointed to was the number of times freshman Max Browne was sacked, "But that's just normal, he's done that," Kiffin said. "It's hard to learn to throw the ball away when you're coming from high school."

Kiffin said all three quarterbacks were accurate and commanded the huddle well.

Only time will tell if one of the quarterbacks will separate himself from the group… and if he doesn't Kiffin will have to make the call.

"We'll go back and watch the film," he said. "But I can't imagine a decision coming out of today."

Sacks, sacks, sacks
What'd you think of the new defense's front-seven?

The quarterbacks probably didn't like it too much.

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast's unit tallied 12 sacks on the day -- and that's probably a conservative number given they weren't allowed to tackle.

"We saw the front-seven make some plays in the blitz package," Kiffin said.

Senior Morgan Breslin led the way with three sacks.

Freshman Kenny Bigelow was able to chip in two. "[He's] really improved," Kiffin said. "[He] started slow, like everyone should when they get here, but really over the last week has played really well."

Blackwell steps up
It's safe to say Lee and Nelson Agholor have solidified their spots as the top two receivers in the rotation.

But that No. 3 spot is still up for grabs.

With De'Von Flournoy, George Farmer, and Darreus Rogers all unavailable to play Saturday it was the perfect opportunity for redshirt sophomore Victor Blackwell to step up and make his case.

He was able to do just that.

Blackwell was prone to drops during the fall and hasn't necessarily stood out during spring practices. But he finished the day the scrimmage with seven receptions for 155 yards, including a nice over the shoulder 30-yard touchdown catch from Wittek.

"What normally is the two receivers, Marqise and Nelson, making big plays went to three today," Kiffin said. "Victor made plays and all three [receivers] were over 100-yards."

Play calling
If you were able to watch the game surely you noticed Kiffin's head wasn't buried in a play card. In fact, he wasn't even holding one.

But that didn't mean he didn't have his hand in calling plays. It was a shared job again on Saturday.

"It was just like the rest of spring really," he said. "I've done that for the majority of our springs and spring games, let our other guys be involved and listen to them jump in time to time."

No tackling
It was a last minute decision but one Kiffin decided had to be made.

If the game didn't look very physical Saturday your eyes aren't fooling you. It wasn't.

Kiffin decided Friday that the team was not going to tackle during the scrimmage because of low numbers due to 20 players being out with injuries.

"If we had tackled today and lost a receiver or tight end we just wouldn't have been able to continue to play throughout the day," he explained. "That's why we made that decision. It was nothing about backing off being tough and aggressive."

The Trojans suited up in full-pads for full contact practice 11 of the 15 spring practices.

Quick hits
Due to the lack of able bodies Saturday, former Trojan Jeremy Galten suited up at tight end wearing No. 89. NCAA rules state you are allowed to have former players practice occasionally throughout the spring…20 players were unavailable for the scrimmage due to injury, including 16 scholarship players. Kiffin said he thinks the only injury that will carry into the fall to affect the team will be George Farmer's, with the torn ACL…Guest coaches included former Trojans Robert Woods, Khaled Holmes, and Matt KalilHayes Pullard took over Nickell Robey's old job leading the team out of the tunnel to start the game.

Statistics
Attendance: 15,284

Score: Offense 42 Defense 36

Total plays: 86

Passing:
Wittek, 12-of-17, 145 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Kessler, 15-of-22, 242 yards, 3 touchdowns
Browne, 7-of-11, 80 yards, touchdown, interception

Receiving:
Agholor, 7 receptions for 116 yards, 2 touchdowns
Lee, 8 receptions for 148 yards, 2 touchdowns
Blackwell, 7 receptions for 155 yards, touchdown
Cope-Fitzpatrick, 6 receptions for 28 yards
Skene, 5 receptions for 29 yards

Rushing:
Madden, 8 carries for 23 yards
Davis, 5 carries for 9 yards
Allen, 6 carries for 5 yards

Defense:
Sacks: 12
Interceptions: 3

Breslin, 3 sacks
Williams, 6 tackles
Shaw, 5 tackles
Seymour, 5 tackles
Tavai, 5 tackles
Wright, 2 interceptions
Henderson, interception

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