Coliseum scrimmage recap

It wasn't the sharpest of scrimmages for the Trojans as they held practice in the Coliseum tonight to help prepare for the upcoming Monday night game against Auburn. The team started strong with a terrific opening drive for the offense but after that it just seemed a little flat although several freshman, particularly Mike Williams, made a solid impression in their first appearance on the Coliseum floor.

The Trojans arrived through the peristyle end of the stadium with the traditional Trojan March and headed straight into the locker rooms. After coming back out onto the field they went through their usual pre-game warm-up drills before beginning with the scrimmage.

There were some number and position changes; Mike Williams is now #14, Greig Carlson is #19, Eric Torres is now wearing #79. Nate Steinbacher is playing defensive tackle while both Chris Prosser and Dominique Byrd are playing defensive end.

Among the players who did not participate in the scrimmage were Matt Cassel, Justin Fargas, Sultan McCullough, Darryl Poston, Kareem Kelly, Troy Polamalu, Marcell Allmond, Kevin Arbet and Chad Pierson.

Ryan Kileen got things started by hitting a kickoff to the goal line. Carson brought the 1st unit offense on to the field against the 2nd unit defense and immediately threw a pass to Brandon Hancock who rambled for 17 yards before fumbling after being gang tackled, the offense did recover the ball. Carson threw a screen behind Jason Mitchell against coverage from Alex Gomez. Carson tried to pick on Gomez again and this time it was complete to Keary Colbert for 10 yards. Carson tried to go deep to Mattos who had some space but the pass was overthrown. Malaefou MacKenzie took a handoff and went up the middle for two yards before a tackle by Anthony Daye. Carson dropped back, rolled away from pressure to buy himself some time and threw a strike to Mike Williams for 30 yards but holding was called on the offense, the first of several penalties on the night. Carson then threw another real nice ball, this one was dropped right over the outstreched arms of a defender and into the hands of Gregg Guenther for a 25 yard pick-up and a first down before Gregg went to the ground just under a flying tackle attempt from Mike Ross. Carson rolled out and with good coverage in the secondary he tucked the ball and ran for 3 yards before going out of bounds. Carson then put a beautiful pump fake on before throwing a deep pass to Grant Mattos who beat Ross for a 35 yard touchdown. This drive was a showcase of how precise and efficient Carson can be when given good time by the line.

A Kileen kick-off was returned to the 37 by Jason Mitchell. Matt Leinart went over the middle but missed D Hale. Hershel Dennis took a handoff and got three yards before Matt Grootegoed drove him out of bounds. Leinart then overthrew Williams with Forrest Mozart in coverage and Tom Malone came on to punt the ball out at the 16.

Malaefou took a handoff and followed a good Torres block on Steinbacher for six yards. Hancock got five yards on a carry and then Palmer overthrew an open Alex Holmes across the middle. Hancock continued his fine play this fall by gaining 12 yards on a run before a solid open field tackle by Mike Ross, another freshman who has been impressive. Carson then completed a pass to Williams who broke a tackle and sprinted 30 yards down the sidelines before a tackle by Lee Webb. Dennis had his best run of the day on a short eight yard pick-up when he put a subtle shake move to lose Webb before being driven out at the sidelines. Carson hit Guenther with a pass and a tackle by Oscar Lua but Jacob Rogers was called offsides. Carson dropped back, had great protection but there was nobody open due to equally good coverage in the secondary and he ran for no gain. Dennis took a handoff but was tackled immediately by Aaron Graham. Hershel took another handoff and got three yards before a solid pop from Sandy Fletcher. Chris Prosser got a sack. Carson hit Sunny Byrd with a screen, Sunny turned up field as if he was looking for Matt Ware and got seven before a tackle by Mozart. Carson tripped as he went back from center. Carson then rolled out, had some time thanks in part to a nice block by Dennis on Anthony Daye in the backfield, and hit Williams for 23 yards. Carson tried to hit Mitchell in the end zone but defensive holding was called so Palmer tried to complete a 2nd touchdown on the day to Mattos but the ball was tipped in the end zone and intercepted by Oscar Lua.

Billy Hart came on and immediately hooked up with Greig Carlson on a 20-yard completion. David Kirtman got a rare carry and went for 7 yards before Hart went on a scramble that saw him with plenty of open space to run and he got 30 yards with help from an excellent downfield block by William Buchanan. Hart is known for his terrific feet and he also throws the ball on the run extremely well. Kirtman ran for three yards. Dominique Byrd blew past Kyle Williams for the sack on Hart. A Hart pass to Kirtman fell incomplete and Malone put a punt into the end zone.

Leinart had to scramble to lose Kenechi Udeze in the backfield before throwing a strike on the run to Williams for 20 yards along the sidelines. Leinart completed a short pass to Doyal Butler for two yards before a Jason Leach tackle. Shaun Cody got such a terrific push on Travis Watkins that by the time Hershel got the handoff Cody was right there to stop the play with a four yard loss. Leinart then dropped back and hit Williams for 15 yards against Mozart but the play was called back for offsides on Eaves. Hershel Dennis did a good job on pass protection against Mike Patterson but Udeze was able to get by for the sack on Leinart. Leinart was called for another sack on a very quick whistle by the referees. Leinart tried to hit Mattos but Rideaux knocked the ball away. A Tom Huff punt was returned 17 yards on a nice effort from Justin Wyatt.

Carson attempted a pass to Malaefou but it was dropped. Carson hit Mattos with Ross coming up to make a picture perfect tackle. Malaefou had a short run to force a booming punt from Malone.

Leinart completed a pass to Mitchell for 9 yards before a Sunny Byrd run got seven more with a tackle by Darrell Rideaux. Leinart hit Carlson for 14 yards but he was met with a Grootegoed signature hit as he was driven hard into the ground. Leinart missed Mitchell as he was under pressure from both Groots and Rideaux. Cody got a sack on Leinart. Nazel got a sack on Leinart. A Huff punt signaled the end of the first half.

Carson began the 2nd half with a completion to Colbert but holding was called on the offense. Carson went to Mattos for 11 yards but a short run forced another punt.

Hart completed a pass to Buchanan for eight yards. Hancock got nothing on a run with a stop by Collin Ashton and Hershel then went on some misdirection for six yards. Another Hershel run got five more yards before Hart hit Hale with an eight yard pass and a first down. Hart completed a pass to Kirtman for 12 yards and then tried to hit Scott Huber but the ball was dropped. Morgan Craig stepped in for his first action of the night and he promptly hit Mitchell for eight yards. Sunny Byrd then took the handoff and went five yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

Leinart dropped back and had lots of time with a good block by Eaves on Byrd and he hit Hancock for 23 yards with a tackle by Ross. Leinart then looked left and threw right with a bad ball that was easily picked at the goal line by Alex Gomez.

A false start was called on the offense. Hershel took a handoff and went up the middle for one yard before a Travis Tofi tackle. Graham put pressure on Leinart to force an incomplete pass. Leinart then tried to throw deep and was picked by Kyle Matthews.

Hart brought the offense onto the field and immediately hit Scott Huber with a pass down inside the five for a 27 yard pick-up. Hershel tried to bounce outside instead of sticking it up the middle and he was tackled by Jay Bottom for a two yard loss. Hart scrambled and was tackled by Bottom and Byrd. Hart then tripped as he was coming out from center to force a 35 yard field goal attempt from David Davis which was good.

There were plenty of Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits in attendance including Darnell Bing, Freddie Parrish, Kevin Brown, Marlin Simmons, Terrance Austin and Leon Jackson.

The Trojans will review the scrimmage in the morning, will have a light practice at 11am and then will return for a full practice at 4pm tomorrow afternoon.


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