Prelude to a Very Bright Future
Before Sunday's scrimmage, Coach Pete Carroll indicated he would take the opportunity to evaluate younger talent and see who may be able to contribute in the future. Carroll encouraged younger players to "step-up" and show their abilities-he was not disappointed. Among the standouts for the scrimmage were Mitch Mustain, Damian Williams, Ronald Johnson, Marc Tyler, Allen Bradford and Malcolm Smith.
Mustain was 10-16/162 yards and three touchdowns, Williams had five receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown, Johnson returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Tyler had seven carries for 78 yards.
Mustain and Williams will not participate in any more practices until the spring (per NCAA transfer rules) and Tyler will be applying for a redshirt waiver at the end of the season.
Sunday's intra-squad scrimmage started off with one-on-ones, the first team offense and defense squaring off to almost a standstill, neither side dominating the other, and really, quite uneventful. The first touchdown on the day came on a Mitch Mustain led/Marc Tyler dominating drive. Mustain connected with passes to Cooper Stephenson, Rhett Ellison and Brandon Carswell. Tyler had three carries on the drive culminating with 6-yard touchdown run.
2:00 Minute Drills
The first half ended with a pair of two-minute drills led by Mark Sanchez and John David Booty. Sanchez's drive ended with an impressive 50-yard field goal by David Buehler. Booty's drive was not so successful as it ended with an incomplete pass batted away by Vincent Joseph. This ended the first half, with the score 10-0 in favor of the second unit.
Second Half Fireworks
When the teams returned from a brief half-time intermission, freshman kick returner/wide receiver Ronald Johnson lit up sparks of energy by returning a Joe Houston kick 95 yards for a touchdown. The crowd and team got excited when Johnson broke through to open field, leaving defenders in his wake. Seconds later, Brandon Carswell returned a kick to the 25-yard line.
Ronald Johnson 'took it to the house' with a kickoff return for a touchdown
Mustain then led a drive, which included a 3-yard catch by Cooper Stephenson and another Stephenson grab in the corner of the endzone. Aaron Corp got into the action leading a touchdown drive of his own. After a 3-yard scramble, Corp handed off to Tyler for a 35-yard gain, then another for 10-yards. Hershel Dennis capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Mustain re-entered the game in a short yardage situation. He threw an incomplete pass to Damian Williams close to the one-yard line on the right side of the field and followed it up with a touchdown pass to Sean Calcagnie in the left corner of the endzone.
Corp then led an unsuccessful series of downs. Mustain re-entered the field then he and Williams connected several times to impress attendees with the "Arkansas" connection. On this final drive of the game, Mustain threw two passes to Williams, which drew gasps from the crowd. This was followed with a short run by Jody Adewale and an incomplete pass. The last play of the day was a dramatic toss into the endzone, which Williams soared skyward to bring the ball in and complete an acrobatic reception.
Damian Williams impresses with acrobatic catches throughout Sunday's scrimmage
Impressive Players of the Day
Mitch Mustain, 10-16/162, 3 touchdowns
Ronald Johnson, 1 kickoff return, 95 yards, 1 touchdown
Marc Tyler, 7 carries, 78 yards, 1 touchdown
Damian Williams, 5 receptions, 58 yards, 1 touchdown
Allen Bradford, 7 carries, 48 yards
Malcolm Smith, 4 tackles
Assist of the Day
USC coaches were quite animated and vocal, particularly, Coaches Ken Norton Jr., Rocky Seto and Dave Watson.
Highlight of the Day
At virtually the same time as the scrimmage (11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.), volunteers from WeAreSC.com, USCFootball.com and SCPlaybook.com held a Holiday Drive for the Ricky Rosas family at the Sports Arena.
All in attendance had fun, and the Rosas family received a multitude of Holiday gifts and support from Trojan fans/friends everywhere.