Sunday scrimmage recap

It was a day to showcase the freshman running backs as the Trojans worked on their ground game during a scrimmage tonight on Howard Jones Field.

Stafon Johnson scored on a 52 yard touchdown burst, C.J. Gable had 65 yards on only five carries and newcomer Allen Bradford ran the ball 14 times for 64 yards and a pair of short touchdowns. Overall, however, it was a day for the defense as they forced six turnovers (five fumbles) and had five sacks.

The day got started with work on the kickoff coverage teams. The KO coverage 1st team was as follows: T Williams, Ellison, Maualuga, Buehler, L Brown, Maiava, Brittingham, Bradford, Pinkard, C Harris and Matthews. The 2nd unit was as follows: Wright, Mays, Adewale, Hancock, Lua, Morgan, Rivers, Havili, Gable, T Thomas and Van Blarcom.

When the scrimmage began, it was the first unit offense against the 2nd defense.

1st offense – Booty, Coleman, Smith, McFoy, Thompson, Vanderboom, Baker, Byers, Kalil, Malu, Williams

2nd defense – Schweiger, Ashley, Spicer, Washington, Maiava, Lua, T Williams, Wright, Ja Williams, Mays, Perez

John David Booty led the offense on the field and immediately rolled left and tried to go deep to Steve Smith. Steve was behind the defender by a few steps but the pass was underthrown and it gave Taylor Mays time to hustle over from his safety spot to make the interception.

The 2nd offense then came on the field for their opening series against the first defense.

2nd offense – Sanchez, Coleman, Hancock, Patterson, Hazelton, McCoy, C Brown, Radovich, Howell, Heberer, Herring

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

Sanchez scrambled on his first pass, which went incomplete. A short pass to Ausberry was held to a short gain as Cary Harris came up with the solid stick. Harris continues to impress. Cushing beat Herring around the end for the sack.

Booty brought the offense onto the field and hit Smith with a short pass, Jamel Williams on the tackle. Booty then threw a hitch to Chris McFoy who broke a tackle from Antwine Perez and ran for a 15 yard gain. Stafon got his first carry of the day but it went nowhere as Walker Ashley led a gang of tacklers to make the immediate stop. Stafon carried again on the next play and gained nine to set up a third and one which Booty converted on a sneak. Alfred Rowe came in for a sack, a run play went nowhere and Alex Morrow got around Sam Baker for a sack. Baker left the field shortly after that while experiencing dizziness that began last night while on a ride at Knott's Berry Farm.

The first play of the next Sanchez drive was a fumbled exchange between he and center Nick Howell and the defense recovered.

With the ball inside the ten yard line, Booty handed it to C.J. Gable but he was stopped inside the five by Oscar Lua. Allen Bradford got his first carry of the day and powered it into the end zone for the opening score. Danelo made the extra point, his new holder is punter Greg Woidneck (who is now wearing #44 after being #49 earlier in camp).

The team then worked on some punt drills with Woidneck and Odegard punting and Patterson and Johnson as the return men. It's becoming more and more obvious that Travon Patterson has a clear lead in the battle for punt returner at this point.

Sanchez brought his offense onto the field and gave the ball to Coleman for a short gain. Mark then went down the middle on a pass to McFoy but it looked like Chris heard the footsteps of Kevin Ellison and the ball went off his fingertips.

Booty gave the ball to Stafon who went off the right side for a short gain, he tried that side again on the next play and scooted for 13 yards. Booty completed a hitch to McFoy who was breaking for a bigger gain but Perez was able to hang on and drag him down after a 15 yard pick-up. With the ball near midfield, Stafon took a handoff and made one of the prettiest runs of the night. He went through the left side of the line, broke a tackle attempt from Lua and then took off toward the left sideline where he outran the rest of the defense for a 52 yard touchdown. If there were any questions about his breakaway speed they were silenced on this run.

Sanchez wanted to hit McCoy with a short pass but he focused too long on Anthony before throwing the ball and Pinkard was waiting there to knock the ball away. A Moody run went for no gain thanks to a nice defensive play by Keith Rivers. Sanchez then dropped back and, with a strong rush coming at him, waited until the last second before dumping a screen to Gable who got a great block on Rivers by Butch Lewis but Dallas Sartz came over to stop the play just short of the first down.

Stafon took a handoff but was met immediately by Kaluka for no gain. At that point the sprinklers along the players sideline went on, someone didn't get the memo that the Trojans were holding a scrimmage tonight. Bradford took the next carry for a short gain with Averell Spicer making the stop. Booty tried a fade pass to Smith that was no good against coverage from Jamel Williams but Williams got hurt when he and Smith went up for the ball as Taylor Mays came over from his safety spot and laid a hit to try and break up the play. Jamel went to the sideline holding his shoulder and he was replaced by his brother, Jerry. Gable followed a block from Ryan Kalil and went for 14 yards. Another Booty fade pass attempt to Smith, this time against Jerry Williams, also went incomplete. One of the best hits of the day came when Stafon went up the middle and was met hard by Thomas Williams, in fact Williams had to leave the field to get his helmet worked on after the play. Bradford ran for four yards.

Sanchez completed a pass to Brad Walker who gained 11 yards before Terrell Thomas made the stop. Moody was gang tackled after no gain. One of the best receptions of the day came when Sanchez threw along the right sideline to David Ausberry who used his height to go up and get the ball against Shareece Wright for a 27 yard pick-up. Another good pass play followed as Sanchez hit Travon and the freshman made Sartz grasp at air with a shake move before picking-up 17 yards. A few short runs set up a 35 yard FG attempt by Danelo which was good.

Halftime.

The team worked on kickoff return after halftime and the highlight was a 98 yard kickoff return by Cary Harris, a player who has more speed than people think. A key block on the return was made by Stafon Johnson against Stanley Havili. Gable followed that up with a long return as well, he broke three tackles including one from David Buehler, but C.J. was eventually brought down short of a touchdown.

Sanchez brought the offense out for the first series but it was a short one. A couple short runs and a short pass completion to Hazelton.

Garrett Green then came in and provided a little spark with a nice drive. His first pass to Ausberry missed, then Coleman had a short run. On third and long he hit Havili with a quick pass and Stanley took off down the center of the field for 15 yards before Justin Hart made the solid tackle. Garrett came right back to Stanley by hitting him out of the backfield and he absolutely lowered his shoulder and delivered a blow to Shareece as he came up to make the tackle attempt. Stanley gained a few more yards before being knocked out of bounds by Mike Morgan but his shot on Wright, which knocked Shareece to the ground, was met with great enthusiasm by his offensive teammates. Green tried to go deep with a throw to Ausberry but Chase McWhorter was there to bat the ball away. Garrett stayed with Ausberry and hit him on the next play with a slant but as David rambled toward the end zone the ball was stripped and recovered by the defense. As the bodies were piled up trying to get on the loose ball Garrett Green came over and tried to get in the action but Clay Matthews just kind of grabbed the quarterback and tossed him to the side.

Booty tried to hit an open Dale Thompson down the middle of the field but Kaluka was called for holding onto Thompson's jersey. Booty tried to go deep again, this time to Patterson, but the pass went incomplete. A short pass to McFoy turned into a first down as Chris got across the down marker before being driven out by Schweiger. A Booty pass to Patterson over the middle went for six yards before another beautiful run by one of the freshmen, this time it was Gable. C.J. broke a tackle at the line and was helped by a block from Radovich on Perez as he went for 52 yards before being tackled by Wright. A couple shaky plays followed; Booty stumbled after the snap and almost lost the ball and then he tripped over an offensive lineman on the next play. Gable gained six yards on third down (tackle by Wright) which led to a 39 yard FG by Danelo.

Sanchez gave the ball to Moody but Emmanuel was met by Kyle Moore and others for a three yard loss. Bradford had a terrific run where he broke a tackle attempt before being brought down after eight yards. A Sanchez pass to Patterson went for no gain. A fumbled handoff to Bradford was recovered by Brian Cushing.

Booty had his best play of the day when he had time in the pocket, he read three different receivers and picked an open Anthony McCoy for a 25 yard gain. Booty then tried to hit Patterson in the end zone but the ball was short. With the ball inside the ten yard line, it was time to test our new power back so Bradford came in and went behind Powdrell up the middle to get inside the five. Again, Bradford tried to follow Powdrell right up the middle but Luthur Brown and Thomas Williams led the defensive stop to make it 4th and goal. Another Bradford run was able to punch it in for the score and Danelo added the extra point.

Bradford got things started on the next drive as well and he showed his quick feet, he took the handoff to the right and changed direction to his left where the hole was and gained 13 yards. Moody went off the left side for 12 yards before Rowe came up to make a tackle. Alfred had a real solid night. Walker Ashley knocked down a pass at the line. Bradford took the handoff but Alex Morrow and Brown were there to force a one yard loss. A Moody run gained five yards and then Bradford provided one of the highlight moments of the night when he took a handoff around right end and gave a stiff-arm to Clay Matthews that allowed him to break free and he went for a 20 yard gain. New defensive end Gerald Washington came in for a sack after he overpowered a block attempt by Moody. Bradford went on the left side and tried another stiff arm but Alfred Rowe was able to fight it off and held the play to no gain. Schweiger got a sack after beating Charles Brown. Buehler came on to try a 51 yard field goal, the ball had plenty of leg but it was wide left. End of scrimmage.

Scrimmage recap from usctrojans.com:

USC freshmen tailbacks Stafon Johnson, Allen Bradford and C.J. Gable combined for 215 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns, but the Trojan defense had the upper hand throughout most of the Trojan football team's 79-play intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday evening (Aug. 13) on Howard Jones Field.

Johnson averaged 12.3 yards on his 7 carries to total 86 yards, including a 52-yard scoring burst. Bradford, who recently switched to offense from safety, added 64 yards on 14 rushes, with a pair of short TDs (3 yards and 1 yard). Gable ran for 65 yards on 5 attempts (13.0 average) and also had a 90-yard kickoff return.

Junior placekicker Mario Danelo nailed both of his field goal tries, 34 and 39 yards. Sophomore cornerback Cary Harris returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score.

The Trojan defense came up with 6 turnovers, including 5 fumble recoveries (senior linebacker Oscar Lua pounced on a fumbled kickoff in the end zone for an early score). Freshman safety Taylor Mays had an interception on the scrimmage's first play. The defense also posted 5 sacks.

Sophomore linebacker Kaluka Maiava had 5 tackles and a deflection. Posting 4 tackles each were a trio of freshman-cornerback Shareece Wright, defensive tackle Walker Lee Ashley and safety Alfred Rowe (with a sack)-plus junior defensive end Jeff Schweiger (with a sack). Linebackers Keith Rivers, Brian Cushing and Luthur Brown each had fumble recoveries, as did redshirt freshman safety Justin Hart.

"Our young running backs did some really good things," said sixth-year USC head coach Pete Carroll. "But our offense was controlled by the defense. The defense got to our quarterbacks and we were sloppy in the throwing game."

Junior quarterback John David Booty hit 6-of-14 passes for 92 yards with an interception, while redshirt freshman Mark Sanchez was 7-of-13 for 64 yards.

Wide receivers David Ausberry (58 yards), Chris McFoy (53 yards) and Travon Patterson (20 yards) each had 3 catches.


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