Thursday practice notes

The team was presented with an interesting item during practice. Lance Corporal George Benitez from the USMC presented a USC-themed guideon to the team and Benitez did the coin flip before the scrimmage. The guideon is a flag that serves as a Unit ID and it goes with the troops in action wherever they are.

The Trojans went through scrimmage situations today in a full pads practice that will be their last practice until next Monday.

The first series saw the second offense against the second defense and it was a quick three plays and out.

The first offense and first defense came out and Matt Leinart hit Steve Smith wide open in the flat for a six yard gain. Reggie Bush tried a run but was stopped by Matt Grootegoed and Jason Leach for no gain. Leinart then threw to Will Buchanon who made a terrific one handed grab before being stopped by Dallas Sartz after three yards. Leinart hit Hershel Dennis with a screen pass and Eric Wright came up to make a solid tackle, Hershel immediately grabbed his left knee and the coaches and trainers hustled over the check on him. Hershel was taken off the field on a cart and there was no word on his status at the time practice was over (note - Hershel tore a ligament in his left knee and is out for the Orange Bowl). The scrimmage continued with Leinart trying to hit Buchanon but Justin Wyatt made a nice play to knock the ball away. Mario Danelo came on to try a 52 yard field goal that was well short.

Desmond Reed took a handoff and went for six yards. Rocky Hinds was at quarterback and he missed a couple throws early. Reed broke a tackle attempt at the line from Michael Stuart to gain five yards. Hinds eluded the rush from Alex Morrow and dumped a short pass to Andre Woodert. Reed tried a couple shake moves at the line and he was able to avoid a few tacklers until Oscar Lua came from the side and lit him up after three yards. A 32 yard FG attempt by Ryan Killeen was no good.

Thomas Williams had a sack on Matt Cassel. Matt came right back with one of the best throws of the day as he rolled right and hit Chris McFoy in the center of the field for 11 yards and a first down.

Leinart tried to hit Buchanon deep but Jason Leach hit him hard at the same time the ball arrived to force the incompletion. David Kirtman had a highlight run up the middle for 35 yards. LenDale White, who watched from the sideline, made sure to let the defensive players hear about it after the long Kirtman run. Leinart hit walk-on Brad Walker with a 20 yard touchdown pass.

Billy Hart had his first pass attempt fall incomplete but PI was called on Clay Matthews against Dale Thompson. On his next pass attempt the ball was tipped at the line and picked by Morrow. With the reception Alex received from his teammates you would've thought he just intercepted a pass to beat UCLA.

Lua had a sack on Cassel. Matt then hit McFoy for 13 yards and then the best play of the day came when Cassel threw deep down the sidelines for Greig Carlson who hauled it in for a 38 yard TD. Carlson held onto the ball in the end zone despite being drilled by Josh Pinkard.

Among the players who did not dress today included Jeff Byers, Fred Matua, Jason Mitchell, LenDale White, Drew Radovich, Travis Draper and Kurt Katnik.

The team was presented with an interesting item during practice. Lance Corporal George Benitez from the USMC presented a USC-themed guideon to the team and Benitez did the coin flip before the scrimmage. Benitez is a lifelong Trojan fan who graduated from Bassett HS in La Puente and he said many members of his unit, the Regimental Combat Team 5 First March Division, were turned into USC fans during their tour of duty in Iraq. He said they would log on to the internet to follow the team and Carroll sent out a package of goodies for the soldiers as well. The guideon is a flag that serves as a Unit ID and it goes with the troops in action wherever they are. After the battle of Fallujah, Benitez said they got new guideons so he presented the USC team with the guideon that flew alongside his unit while they were one of the key elements in that battle. Benitez arrived home two weeks ago and said he had the pilot of his plane relaying him updates from the USC vs UCLA game as he flew from Iraq to Maine.


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