Scrimmage Recap

The Trojans held a closed scrimmage tonight under the lights at the LA Coliseum with pumped in crowd noise designed to simulate game conditions. We saw good performances from names like Mike McDonald, Brandon Hancock and Brad Walker on offense while defensive stars included Oscar Lua and Kevin Thomas. Click below to read more:

Click here to listen to an audio recap of the scrimmage from WeAreSC writers Garry Paskwietz, Greg Katz and Johnny Curren (4:00 minutes)

The scrimmage got started with the first offense going against the first defense. The line-ups were as follows:

Offense – QB Mark Sanchez, RB Brandon Hancock, WR Steve Smith, WR Dwayne Jarrett, WR Chris McFoy, TE Fred Davis, LT Sam Baker, LG Matt Spanos, C Ryan Kalil, RG Chilo Rachal, RT Kyle Williams

Defense – DE Alex Morrow, DT Chris Barrett, NG Sedrick Ellis, DE Kyle Moore, SLB Keith Rivers, MLB Oscar Lua, WLB Kaluka Maiava, CB Kevin Thomas, FS Antwine Perez, SS Brandon Ting, CB Cary Harris

The opening series was a quick one. Sanchez completed a swing pass to Smith for a short gain and two other plays went nowhere.

McDonald brought the 2nd offense on the field and immediately hit Brad Walker for a short reception. It was not the first time tonight that those two would hook up. Walker Ashley came in for a sack.

With the ball inside his own 10, Sanchez got things started with a quick throw to Jarrett along the left sideline that ended up going for 26 yards. At this point Matt Spanos had moved to RT and Jeff Byers was at LG. Sanchez overthrew Patrick Turner on a deep ball and then Hancock went up the middle for seven yards.

McDonald hit Walker on a quick pass to open the drive and then he came right back with a completion to Fred Davis who delivered the contact when Rey Maualuga tried to come up and make the tackle, the play went for 13 yards and brought a lot of pats on the back for Fred from his offensive teammates. McDonald hit Walker on the sidelines for 27 yards and then he threw to him over the middle and the play went for a 25 yard touchdown.

Taylor Odegard and Troy Van Blarcom both got a few punts in with Odegard getting the best punt of the night. Taylor had one kick that sailed on Jamel Williams, he muffed the punt and Turner came in for the recovery.

Sanchez led a nice drive on the next series with the first play being a rollout to the right where Mark hit Jarrett for nine yards before being driven out of bounds by Jerry Williams. Mark then hit Smith over the middle with Steve having to go up for the ball. A couple deep incompletions, to Jarrett and Smith, were followed by a screen to Hancock who broke a tackle attempt by Williams and he raced for 23 yards to put the ball inside the five. Sanchez then threw a quick screen to Griffin who barely got past the goal line for the touchdown before taking a hard pop from Kevin Thomas.

The ball was put back on the ten yard line and Sanchez tried a pass that was knocked down at the line by Oscar Lua. Chris Barrett had a sack which forced a 32 yard FG attempt from Mario Danelo which was good.

The next series got started with Griffin taking a handoff up the middle where he was immediately met by Lua for no gain. McDonald then hit Hancock on a slant and the play went for 17 yards before a Jim Abbott tackle. McDonald scrambled and picked up ten yards thanks in part to a good block from Mike Brittingham. McDonald then hit Hancock again, this time with Byers and Charles Brown out in front, and the play went for 16 yards. Brandon was really doing a good job tonight with the ball in his hands. McDonald completed a pass to Davis who broke a tackle attempt from Williams and gained 14 yards. Another pass completion, this time to Walker who went up high to make the catch, was good for 13 yards and it was clear that McDonald was putting together a good night of moving the team. Griffin tried a run and was stuffed again by Lua at the line of scrimmage. McDonald went back to the air and hit Hancock in the flat for a five yard touchdown pass.

The first offense came out and ran a series with time running out in the first half. Sanchez rolled left and patiently waited for someone to get open, finally Smith broke free from Mozique McCurtis and Mark hit him for an 18 yard gain. Another Sanchez to Smith completion went for a short gain thanks to a quick tackle from Brandon Ting. Mark then swung a pass to Hancock who got a real good block from Davis on Perez to spring Brandon for a 50 yard touchdown score.

The second half got started with Sanchez rolling right and he tried to hit Smith but Maiava got in the passing lane and knocked the ball away. A slant to Jarrett went for eight yards and then Mark rolled out again with pressure from Maiava but he was able to lob a pass in to McFoy for 18 yards. A Griffin run was stopped for a one yard loss by Lua. Sanchez tried to hit Jarrett on a slant but the ball was a little behind him, it bounced in the air and into the waiting arms of Kevin Thomas for the pick.

Lua had a sack on McDonald. McDonald came back and hit Walker for ten yards.

There were some more punts with Jim Abbott having two nice returns.

On the next series for Sanchez he hit Smith for a 15 yard gain but on the next play he got picked again, this time when his slant to Jarrett was a little high and the ball ended up being interception by Thomas for the second time on the night.

McDonald was picked on the next series by Jerry Williams.

Sanchez did a good job on the first play of the series by reading a blitz and immediately throwing to Davis who received a block from McFoy for 13 yards where he was met by a hard tackle from Perez. Mark then hit a wide open Dale Thompson in the flat and another McFoy block helped clear an 18 yard pick-up. Another Sanchez to Thompson pass went for a short gain because Perez came in and laid a terrific hit on Dale. The two hits on the drive by Antwine were hopefully a preview of what this young man can do, very impressive.

McDonald came in a tried to hit Brittingham but Lua was there right away with a hard hit to pop the ball in the air and Nick Garratt almost came down with the pick. Ashley tipped a McDonald pass attempt and it fell incomplete.

In attendance were Broderick Green, Stafon Johnson, Taylor Mays, Josh Tatum, Allan Bradford and Shareece Wright.

Thoughts on the Day

Oscar Lua

You had a nice performance tonight

"It was a little long, we were out there for a long time. It will be nice to get some of the other linebackers back."

You were able to make some nice plays, particularly stuffing some runs up the middle.

"Yeah, there was quite a bit of action. That was nice. I just want to be in there getting the chance to contribute."

Talk about the shortage of linebackers. This is going to be a talented group once everybody gets healthy.

"Without a doubt. Rey, he's got a pulled hamstring right now so we just fill in for each other when we need to. He's done it for me before and now I just have to do it until he gets back. It's like helping your brother-in-law."

You seem pretty comfortable out there right now.

"It's nice because there aren't too many things that surprise me anymore. I've been here for a while and I know our defense, I know what the offense is going to do, especially our offense because I go against them so much. I feel like I know everything that is going to happen."

How is your speed, you seem like you're moving even better than we saw last fall.

"That's what I want to hear. I feel good, I feel like I'm moving well and I hope it shows on the field."

Mike McDonald

On the team's performance tonight

"We were working on setting the tempo and making sure we are all on the same page."

On his impressive performance tonight

"I guess I did all right. I made some throws and missed some throws. It makes you feel good when players are making plays for you. Tonight we only had three running backs and I just try to do whatever the coaches want."

Because of John David Booty's surgery, his perspective of now being the No. 2 healthy quarterback behind Mark Sanchez

"I have to step it up. I am just trying to help out the team and try and run things smoothly. To me, it's all about the team and not the personal accomplishments. I feel more responsibility out there, but we need to get J.D. back."

Who impressed him on defense tonight?

"I liked the play of our safety, Antwine Perez. He makes plays."

His evaluation of junior wide receiver Brad Walker, a favorite target tonight, who had a big evening of receptions

"I guess we're the Orange County connection (McDonald from Newport Harbor and Walker from Foothill). Brad is really stepping there replacing Greig Carlson."

New sign in Coliseum tunnel at field entrance

USC defense in action

Offense huddles for new play

Lua and Maiava ready for snap of the ball

Allan Bradford and Shareece Wright

New Trojan commit Broderick Green


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