Trojan Huddle recap

It was a beautiful sunny day at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday as the Trojans went through the annual Trojan Huddle scrimmage in front of a crowd anxious to see the state of their team.

Those in attendance were treated to a solid display by the defense, particularly when it came to forcing turnovers, while the offense featured unsung performers such as Mike McDonald, Ryan Powdrell and Brad Walker. With so many key starters on the sidelines with various forms of injury there isn't a lot that the coaches and players will be able to take from this day to help them prepare for next fall but for the fans it was a good opportunity to fulfill a Trojan football fix that will have to last until fall camp begins in August.

The team came out and held warm-up sessions in front of the crowd and also went through a national anthem (with coaches reminding players to hold helmets in their left hand).

During the warm-up and 7 on 7 drills there were some nice plays including: Sanchez to Ryan Ting with a long TD pass, McDonald throwing short to Davis for a touchdown, Sanchez throwing to Jarrett on a slant inside the five (Kevin Thomas broke up the next play on another slant to DJ in the end zone) and then Brandon Ting got a pick off a McDonald pass that bounced off the hands of Turner.

To start the scrimmage, the first team offense came out against the first team defense. The line-ups were as follows:

Offense – QB Sanchez, RB Hancock, WR Jarrett, Smith, Turner, TE Davis, OL Baker, Malu, Kalil, Rachal, Williams

Defense – DL Moore, Ellis, Ashley, Schweiger, LB Rivers, Lua, Matthews, DB K Thomas, B Ting, Perez, C Harris

On the opening series, Sanchez hit Powdrell on a third down play with a short pass that was quickly followed by a Keith Rivers tackle just past the first down marker. Sanchez swung a pass to McFoy that went for 11 yards and then Mark threw a pass away, Jeff Schweiger had beat Sam Baker on the play action play to get pressure. On the next play Kyle Moore and Schweiger got good pressure helping collapse the pocket on Sanchez who was forced to step up in the pocket and scramble for a gain of one after good coverage in the secondary. Sanchez then had a screen pass tipped at the line by Jeff Schweiger to force a Mario Danelo field goal.

McDonald brought the second offense on the field and it was quickly three plays and out.

The next Sanchez series saw Powdrell break a long run where he got to the left side, thanks to a huge hole between Baker and Tiny Malu, and Ryan showed speed and agility to get 50 yards upfield before being run out of bounds. For anyone who was seeing Ryan run for the first time it had to be a surprise to see the big man move so well. Keep in mind that he also has terrific hands out of the backfield. Sed Ellis knocked a pass attempt out of Sanchez's hand. A 38 yard FG by Danelo was good by plenty.

The next McDonald series had a six yard pass completion to Turner and then a missed pass to an open Jimmy Miller to force a punt by Odegard. Jimmy Abbott returned the punt and was absolutely crushed by Oscar Lua. Another punt attempt resulted in a safety after the snap went over the punters head.

McDonald got the ball on the next series and he was intercepted by Clay Matthews which brought loud cheers from the Matthews section on the north side of the stadium.

With good starting field position after the pick, Sanchez handed the ball off to Powdrell who followed pulling guard Malu and Ryan used some nifty footwork to get through the line for six yards before a tackle from Lua. After that Hancock took a handoff up the middle, thanks to a seal block by Ryan Kalil, and made a nice cut move in the secondary while racing for a 15 yard touchdown. Brandon Ting blocked the XP attempt.

McDonald led a scoring drive that got started with a Jody Adewale run for five yards and then Mike hit Turner on a mid-range slant pattern with a good hit from Maualuga. Mike then completed a touchdown pass to Fred Davis.

On the next series, a Powdrell run was stopped by Lua for a one yard loss. Every time it looks like Maualuga will push Oscar we are reminded of why Oscar is such a solid player. Kyle Moore used his long arms to get in the passing lanes and tip a pass on the final play of the first half.

To open the second half, McDonald took his team on a long scoring march that began with McDonald throwing a quick pass to slot receiver Ryan Ting who made Maualuga miss and go for eight yards before a Justin Hart tackle. The play showed how valuable a quick slot receiver can be, particularly if he can make the first LB miss to set up a 2nd a short. Maualuga came right back on the next play and tackled Griffin for no gain and then McDonald hit Jimmy Miller for the first down with a tackle by Maiava. A Jody Adewale run went for ten yards and another first down. Mike then hit Walker on a crossing route and then he went to Turner for 18 yards and a touchdown. Mike completed a short pass to McFoy for the two point conversion.

Sanchez brought the first unit on the field and an Adewale run was stopped for a short gain by Maualuga. Mark then completed a quick pass to Hancock with Rivers and Maiava closing strong to force third down when Mark then hit David for 13 yards and a new set of downs. Powdrell carried the ball and had it stripped by Matthews with Moore there for the recovery.

Taylor Odegard came on for some punts and he hit a beauty over 50 yards only to see Ryan Ting weave his way nicely through the defense for a 75 yard touchdown return.

On the next series, Griffin fumbled the ball with Jeremyah Graves making the recovery.

Mark Sanchez took possession on the 30 and immediately launched a touch pass deep in the end zone to Turner who made a magnificent one handed grab for a touchdown (good coverage from Kevin Thomas but there was little he could do to stop a play like that). Incoming receiver David Ausberry, who was watching the action, called it an "amazing catch".

McDonald completed a pass to Miller in the flat but he was stripped by Maiava and the defense recovered.

A Sanchez pass to McFoy went for a short gain before Cary Harris came up and forced a fumble which was recovered by Brandon Ting.

On the final drive McDonald hit Walker for a 26 yard touchdown pass.

Notables in attendance:

Marc Tyler, Marshall Jones, Kenny Rowe, Travon Patterson, Stafon Johnson, Allen Bradford, David Ross, Brandon Johnson, David Ausberry, Justin Cheadle, Vincent Joseph, Garrett Green and Shareece Wright.

Thoughts from Kyle Moore:

"I thought I did pretty good today getting some tackles, getting a good pass rush, things like that. I need to work on my pass rush, it's time to get better. This spring has been my time to work on my speed and my pass rush and I think both of those things have improved from last year. It's been different changing positions and flipping around from last year, especially with Jeff (Schweiger) being hurt part of the spring. I'm basically a 255 pound guy playing the defensive end spot but I'm getting better by going up against a guy like Sam Baker every day. That's pretty good experience because he's an All-American".

Scrimmage Stats

Passing

Mark Sanchez 13-21, 146 yards, 1 TD
Mike McDonald 19-27 191 yards 3 TDs, 1 INT

Rushing

Ryan Powdrell 10-81, with a long run of 56 yards
Brandon Hancock 6-21
John Griffin 9-26
Jody Adewale 6-24

Receiving

Dwayne Jarrett 3-31
Chris McFoy 3-39
Patrick Turner 6-85, 2 TDs
Brad Walker 7-75
Jimmy Miller 3-34

Defense Tackles

Rey Maualuga 9
Kaluka Maiava 9
Keith Rivers 7
Oscar Lua 5
Clay Matthews 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 2 recovered fumbles
Brandon Ting 1 recovered fumble, blocked PAT

Scoring

FG Danelo 30
FG Danelo 38
Hancock 15 run
Fred Davis 10 pass from McDonald
Turner 18 pass from McDonald
Ryan Ting 75 punt return
Turner 29 pass from Sanchez
Walker 26 pass from McDonald

Punting

Taylor Odegard had two punts of 50 yards

Turnovers

4 lost fumbles, 1 INT, 1 blocked PAT, 1 safety on bad punt snap


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