Scrimmage recap

The Trojans held a scrimmage on Wednesday with solid performances from several young freshmen, particularly the running backs. Click below to read more:

These were the 1st and 2nd unit squads that started the scrimmage on Wednesday. The 2nd defense began the day against the 1st offense.

1st offense – Booty, Gable, Powdrell, Jarrett, Smith, Turner, Baker, Byers, Kalil, Rachal, Williams

2nd defense – Schweiger, Spicer, Simmons, Parsons, Maiava, Lua, Matthews, Wright, J Williams, Mays, Bradford

2nd offense – Sanchez, Coleman, Havili, Hazelton, Ausberry, Miller, Brown, Radovich, Spanos, Malu, Herring

1st defense – Moore, Barrett, Moala, Cushing, Rivers, Maualuga, Sartz, C Harris, T Thomas, Pinkard, Ellison

Gable took the first handoff from Booty and went up the middle for 18 yards, nice start to the day for the freshman. A couple plays later Stafon followed that up with a nine yard run to set up a 3rd and short which Gable converted with a short run and tackle by Oscar Lua and Alex Parsons. Booty dropped a screen pass to Powdrell which was read well by Mozique McCurtis and he stopped Ryan behind the line for a two yard loss. John David tried a fade pass to Steve Smith along the sideline, the pass was completed against coverage from Shareece Wright but the officials ruled that Steve was out of bounds. On third and 12, Booty hit Patrick Turner with a slant pass that went for 11 yards to set up a 4th and 1, Stafon went into the line and almost broke through to go the distance but he had to settle for a first down before Taylor Mays dragged him down. Booty then went to Anthony McCoy with a pass over the middle and the big freshman brought the ball in for a 15 yard touchdown.

Sanchez brought his group onto the field and quickly went to Travon Patterson with a 15 yard pass completion. Michael Coleman took a handoff and ran through a tackle attempt by Dallas Sartz to gain eight yards. Good to see Coleman back out here again, you can tell he's not 100% but he's got a chance to be a real bruising runner when healthy. Moody tried to get outside with a run to the right but speedy Keith Rivers tracked him down for a one yard loss. Fili Moala had a sack. Sanchez scrambled for a short gain.

Booty tried to pass on the first play, he had time thanks to a good block in the backfield by Gable, but the coverage in the defense was good and John David had to throw the ball away. Stafon ran for two yards before a tackle by Lua and Maiava. One of the prettiest plays of the day didn't count in the stat sheet because of a penalty but Booty hit Dwayne Jarrett along the left sideline and Dwayne made a terrific one handed grab over his shoulder before falling out of bounds. John David scrambled around on third down but once again couldn't find an open receiver so he took off running and gained six yards thanks in part to a good block by Chris McFoy on McCurtis.

Coleman tried a running play but a blitzing Terrell Thomas was right there and made the tackle behind the line for a one yard loss. Sanchez scrambled for five yards. Sanchez threw to Brad Walker for seven yards before a Shareece Wright tackle. The next play was a nice one as Sanchez rolled to his right and threw it to Hazelton, there wasn't much room between the sidelines and the coverage from Cary Harris but the ball zipped in there and Vidal made the grab for an 11 yard gain. Moody had his first big run of the day, he started left then made an impressive change of direction move to go right and gain 12 yards before a tackle by Pinkard. Emmanuel sure does remind me of Hershel Dennis with his running style. Sanchez threw a quick out pattern to Turner but the play was held to a nine yard gain thanks to a solid tackle at the legs by Cary Harris. Coleman went up the middle for four yards before a tackle by Maualuga. Coleman went off right tackle for three yards with Cary Harris once again sticking his nose in there for the stop along with Maualuga. Sanchez tried to hit Patterson in the end zone but the ball was dropped, Travon would love another shot at that one. Coleman pounded the ball in for the short touchdown run.

The team took a break from the scrimmage for some punt team work. Greg Woidneck had a short kick on his first attempt but his second was a nice, booming Malone style punt. We saw Reed, Patterson and Stafon back on returns. Taylor Odegard also took two punts. The members of the punt team were Ellison, Pinkard, Sartz, Lua, Cushing, Maualuga, Maiava, Collins, McFoy and C Harris.

Duron Sylvester, a walk-on quarterback from Westchester, came on to lead the offense but he fumbled the center exchange on the first snap, the ball was recovered by walk-on LB Nick Garratt. On his next attempt Sylvester fumbled the center snap exchange again. Tyler Davis, another walk-on QB, came out with the offense (with newly converted OL Butch Lewis at LT) and he went to hand-off to RB John Griffin but that exchange was missed and the ball went to the ground and then on the next play Davis fumbled the center snap exchange. It was a tough stretch of plays for the young, walk-on QB's who were taking their first ever snaps in a USC scrimmage.

Mike McDonald was the next QB in line and his first play was a pass that saw nobody open so he promptly ran for 12 yards. A Griffin run went for two yards before a Luthur Brown tackle and then Alex Parsons knocked down a McDonald pass at the line. Griffin tried to a run to the right side but Mike Davis slid down the line to make the stop for a one yard loss. McDonald hit Spencer Vigoren in the flat for three yards with Garratt coming in for the tackle.

Gable took a handoff on the first play of the new series but was hit for a four yard loss by a blitzing Mays. Lua leaped high to bat down a Booty pass attempt at the line. John David then had a pair of back to back throws that were good to see; the first was over the middle to Smith, the ball was behind him a little but Steve did a good job to bring it in for a 14 yard pick-up and on the next play Booty rolled left and found Patterson dragging toward the sideline for 28 more yards. Booty tried to keep the momentum going by throwing deep to Jarrett but the play missed. We got a glimpse of the freshmen running backs next as Gable broke off a pretty 12 yard run up the middle and Stafon followed that with 18 more yards through the middle of the defense. Much has been made of the performance of the freshmen running backs yesterday, they sure showed themselves well. Stafon followed a block by Radovich for a short gain with Schweiger and Lua in on the stop. Booty missed a pass to Jarrett and then had a pass knocked down at the line by Parsons. Danelo made a FG.

Sanchez started his next drive by hitting Patterson over the middle for 12 yards. Rivers got a sack. Sanchez underthrew his receiver but McCurtis missed a pick he probably should've had. Sanchez hit Patterson for another short completion, Mark had time to throw thanks to a nice block on Kyle Moore by Jody Adewale.

Booty went to Turner on a fade route but Wright was able to reach up at the last minute to bat the ball away, nice play Shareece. Booty then hit Coleman out of the backfield and Vincent Joseph (a surprise participant in the scrimmage considering he had been wearing an ankle boot for the last several days) fought off a block attempt by Turner to make a hard tackle and drive Coleman out of bounds. If you wanted a play to judge Joseph, this was the one as he showed his grit in fighting off the bigger blocker and taking on the big running back. Booty tried to hit Smith over the middle but Steve had a rare drop. Coleman followed that with a drop of a screen pass that had been well set up. Booty tried to make a big play on third down by getting the ball to Turner on a deep slant but the ball was tipped by Joseph and landed in the arms of Mays who made a long return before being dragged down by Dale Thompson.

The kickoff team got some work next and the highlight was a pair of long touchdown returns; one by Gable (it was called back due to penalty) and one by Hazelton. Patterson also had a returned kick.

Booty brought the offense back out and his first play was a handoff to Moody who did some high knee stepping through the line on his way to a 13 yard gain. Booty aired out a pass for Turner but Jamel Williams was there to knock the ball away. Gable had a short run with a tackle by Parsons. When Booty came to the line of scrimmage for the next play he noticed nobody was on Hazelton in the slot so he immediately threw it to Vidal who broke a tackle from Perez and picked up 20 yards on the play. Moody made Clay Matthews miss at the line but Averell Spicer hustled over to knock him out of bounds after a nine yard pick-up. Gable followed a nice block by Havili to pick-up a first down with the tackle by Jimmy Abbott. Alfred Rowe had a sack. Booty went to McFoy for six yards and then Parsons had another sack (nice day for Alex) to force a Danelo FG which was good.

Sanchez avoided the rush of Sartz and threw to Patterson but he was ruled out of bounds. Stafon ran into Maualuga at the line, no gain. Sanchez scrambled for five.

Stafon went off the right side and was able to turn the corner for 23 nice yards. That was followed by a short Stafon run, a Schweiger stop of Moody at the line for no gain and a Booty pass batted down at the line by Spicer.

Garrett Green came in and handed the ball off to Moody who was able to make Rivers miss but then was gang tackled after a short gain. Green had a nice scramble but then two running plays went nowhere.

During punt drills, Chris McFoy blocked a punt.

Stafon took a handoff and went left where he was driven hard out of bounds by Rowe. Sanchez fumbled the snap.

With McDonald at QB, Stafon ran off the right side and broke several tackles on his way to 18 yards. I liked the way Stafon gobbled up chunks of yardage, it was very similar to the way Chauncey performed in spring ball 2005. McDonald threw a short pass to Havili who was brought down by Mike Morgan. A Stafon run was held to no gain by Matthews. Buehler tried a FG which had plenty of leg but was wide left.

Sanchez brought the offense out for the final series and Gable got the drive started with a pretty run for 13 yards. Sanchez tried to go deep to Vidal on an out and up pattern but the ball was thrown too far. Stafon had a hard run as he went off the right side and lowered his shoulder for the contact with Vincent Joseph. Sanchez went deep over the middle to McCoy who brought the ball in and held on despite a pretty wicked hit from Mays. With the ball near the goal line, Sanchez hit Havili with the short touchdown pass.

Official stat recap from usctrojans.com:

Freshman tailback Stafon Johnson rushed for 119 yards, fellow freshmen Anthony McCoy and Stanley Havili each caught a touchdown pass and quarterbacks John David Booty and Mark Sanchez each threw scoring passes to highlight the No. 3-ranked USC football team's 93-play intrasquad scrimmage that concluded the first week of fall pre-season practice on Wednesday (Aug. 9) on Howard Jones Field.

Johnson, who averaged 9.2 yards on his 13 carries, was one of three freshmen tailbacks who was impressive. C.J. Gable ran for 64 yards on 8 rushes (8.0 average) and also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a TD. Emmanuel Moody added 28 yards on 8 attempts.

McCoy, a tight end, caught a 16-yard touchdown pass on the opening series from Booty, who was 8-of-19 overall for 114 yards with an interception (the junior had 2 passes dropped and another long completion called back because of a penalty). Sanchez, a redshirt freshman who is trying to take away the starting job from Booty, was 8-of-12 for 103 yards, including a 3-yard scoring pass to fullback Havili on the last play of the scrimmage.

Junior Mario Danelo nailed both of his field goal tries from 27 and 29 yards. Sophomore tailback Michael Coleman scored on a 1-yard run. Freshman wide receiver Vidal Hazelton returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, while fellow frosh wide receiver Travon Patterson caught 4 passes for 76 yards, plus had a pair of punt returns for 17 yards and a 28-yard kickoff return.

On defense, freshman safety Taylor Mays had a game-best 6 tackles and returned an interception 30 yards. Junior defensive end Jeff Schweiger, sophomore cornerback Cary Harris, freshman safety Alfred Rowe, freshman cornerback Vincent Joseph and sophomore safety Jim Abbott each had 4 tackles. Redshirt freshman linebacker Luthur Brown had 3 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries.

The Trojan defense posted 5 sacks, 6 deflections and a blocked punt. The unit also recovered 5 fumbles, including on 4 successive plays when freshmen walk-on quarterbacks were taking their first-ever snaps.


USCFootball.com Top Stories