This afternoon, Chauncey Washington continued to sit out. On defense, Lawrence Jackson worked for a while, but sat out the scrimmage. Kevin Thomas continued to sit out. Antwine Perez is still icing his quad after the wicked hit he put on Patrick Turner in a previous practice. Mozique McCurtis and Josh Pinkard were without pads this afternoon, and Vincent Joseph sat out as well after apparently re-aggravating his ankle injury this morning. Stafon Johnson and Jimmy Miller both headed to the trainer's table as well today during the scrimmage. Johnson received some ice on his left shoulder and Miller got the same treatment for his right ankle area.
The biggest surprise of the day came when the white number 21 jersey made its first appearance of fall camp. There were some rumors during Wednesday's scrimmage that Allen Bradford would see some work at tailback, and now he's handled duties there for two out of the last three days. Bradford probably got more work than the other freshmen during the scrimmage and when he got the ball, he looked great.
When Stafon Johnson left the end-of-practice-scrimmage, Bradford picked up a few more carries. It's going to be nearly impossible to not compare him to LenDale White if he stays on the offensive side of the ball. He is such a force between the tackles and his legs move in those short, quick steps like LenDale.
Keith Rivers was working without the Dick Butkus-like cast today, but he worked to keep most of the contact away from his right hand, shaking it out a few times when he was unable to do so.
The offense took on the defense in a quick drill on Brian Kennedy Field today. Michael Coleman got things started on a run up the middle before he was popped by Cary Harris. Coleman didn't immediately go down, but was stunned enough that Harris' support could subdue him. Harris has really impressed us with his toughness and willingness to take on the ball carrier. He has been the author of more than a few solid hits.
Coleman has shown flashes of brilliance as well. He didn't get much work today, partly because he's still working back to full health and partly because the freshman are being given a chance to get into a rhythm, but in previous practices, she's shown a surprising burst of speed to not only get to the corner, but to turn it upfield for big gains as well.
Stafon Johnson then received three consecutive carries, moving the pile for six yards on the first one, being held up by Luthur Brown in the backfield on the second, and then busting the third for a long gain up the middle.
After that, the offense practiced a play that will hopefully be used plenty of times this season, as they lined up in the victory formation and kneeled on the ball twice.
Mario Danelo booted a 38-yard field goal with plenty of room to spare, while David Buehler was wide left on his two kicks, from 52 and 57 yards away. The 52-yarder easily had the distance, while the 57-yarder would have been close. It's not as if the coaching staff is making it easy on Buehler, forcing him to continually try from outside of 50 yards, but it looks like he may be called on to perform those duties if that situation should arise this season.
The team then huddled for the warm-up to the scrimmage and broke with John David Booty leading the offense for his one drive. His first pass found David Ausberry for 12 yards. His second pass fell incomplete after his arm was hit while moving forward. Booty lofted his third attempt down the sideline for Dwayne Jarrett, but a fantastic play by Cary Harris resulted in an interception. Harris simply stayed ahead of Jarrett down the sideline, positioning himself between the receiver and the overthrown ball, and was able to leap at the last second and come down with the pick.
Mark Sanchez then stepped in and found Brad Walker on a deep out for 20 yards with his first pass. A quick pass to Nick Vanderboom over the middle netted ten yards. Jeff Schweiger then batted down the next attempt.
After resetting, Sanchez found Walker again, this time on a slant. Walker hit a hole in the defense and turned toward and up the sideline for a big gain before being run out of bounds. On the following play, Sanchez tried to scramble after his throwing options were cut down, but was grabbed from behind by Averell Spicer.
The teams then huddled again and broke for the scrimmage.
John David Booty stepped behind his offensive line of Sam Baker, Drew Radovich, Ryan Kalil, "Tiny" Malu and Kyle Williams.
The defense came out in a 3-4, with Kyle Moore, Sedrick Ellis and Chris Barrett as the down linemen, Brian Cushing at Elephant (stand-up end), Kaluka Maiava, Oscar Lua and Michael Morgan as the linebackers, Cary Harris and Terrell Thomas at corner and Kevin Ellison and Taylor Mays at safety.
Pete Carroll wanted to play with game situation: if the current offense didn't earn enough for a first down, the field goal kicker was brought on or the ball was simply turned over.
Booty's first drive was quick. A short pass to Steve Smith was followed by a scramble for no gain and an incomplete pass to David Ausberry.
Mark Sanchez followed that drive by handing off to Allen Bradford on his first play. Bradford ran over left tackle and broke through the secondary for a big gain. Another Bradford run following that was stuffed hard at the line. Two more runs netted no gain and the offense was forced with a fourth down, which Sanchez calmly converted to Dwayne Jarrett.
Bradford moved the pile for six yards with another run and the drive was capped by a short touchdown pass to Ryan Powdrell where the fullback caught the ball around the seven yard-line and plowed through three defenders on his way to the endzone.
On the last drive of the practice, Allen Bradford moved the pile for four yards and then broke through for 15 more on two runs. Booty was then sacked by Brian Cushing on a rollout as Vidal Hazelton slipped coming out of his break.
Emmanuel Moody took the next handoff up the middle for a big gain before the ball was stripped by the defense. He was very upset with himself, but was granted a reprieve when the defense was called for being offside on the play. After an Allen Bradford run and a Booty quarterback sneak got the offense a first down inside the 20, Booty set up for the final play of the scrimmage.
With Dwayne Jarrett matched up against Terrell Thomas, something we've seen a lot of during these practices, Booty floated one toward the endzone and Jarrett went up over Thomas to bring it down for a touchdown. I'm not exactly sure what more Thomas could have done. He was in great position and played it well. Dwayne Jarrett is just that good.
The practice ended with a group huddle and slow chants of "OJ, OJ, OJ" as basketball recruit OJ Mayo walked to the center of the group and announced that he'd committed to USC.
Cheers went up from the players, but that was just the beginning. As Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the team, he had the same speech that he always gives them, sort of. He started by calmly (yeah right) asking his guys if they could win the game in the first quarter. I think you know how it progressed from there.
But afterwards, he told the team that they were to hit the weight room and then proceed to the meeting room, where they would review film of the practice and discuss what went right and what went wrong. Or… he said, they could leave for Knott's Berry Farm in 30 minutes. The team got off the field pretty quickly after that.