First Scrimmage of Spring and Competition Heats Up
Until the first scrimmage of the Spring on Sunday, the quarterback competition was fairly close, with Mark Sanchez edging out Mitch Mustain for the job. Things got interesting today, as Mustain outplayed Sanchez, and according to the official scrimmage stats, the touchdown tally was three for Mustain and none for Sanchez.
Furthermore, Mustain appeared more relaxed and calm in his leadership role. Whether pressing, or just because of circumstance, Sanchez seemed a bit more unpolished. That may not be a fair assessment, as we are learning, Sanchez is more of an emotional leader and Mustain is calm and quiet in his demeanor.
On the scrimmage Sanchez was 9-15, 106 yards. Mustain went 7-9, three touchdowns, 137 yards. Aaron Corp was 4-8, 51 yards and one interception.
The bottom line in this analysis, then, is Mustain took a step toward establishing himself as a serious contender for the starting position.
A Note About the Running Backs
Not to be overlooked, Allen Bradford also made his own statement. Since spring practice commenced, and according to Pete Carroll, since the Rose Bowl, Allen Bradford has been on a mission. Bradford has stated he would make an impression this Spring, and he has lived up to his word. Bradford has been a stand out and coaches will have to give him a serious shot at the starting role if he continues his hard play.
Bradford had four carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns. C.J. Gable had three carries for 52 yards. Marc Tyler and Broderick Green each had seven carries for 36 and 35 yards respectively. Joe McKnight checked in with one carry for 21 yards. Fullback Stanley Havili had one carry for three yards and a touchdown.
About the Receivers
The most impressive receiver was Ronald Johnson who had three receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns. David Ausberry had three receptions for 43 yards, Travon Patterson had two for 16 yards, Carswell also had two for 38 yards and McKnight checked in with two receptions for 9 yards. From the fullback position, Adam Goodman had two receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown.
Joe McKnight had one kickoff return and he made the most of it, going 94 yards for a touchdown. David Buehler was good on his only field goal attempt from 32 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jordan Campbell also made a statement, sharing a team high four tackles. Clay Matthews, Daniel Harper and Christian Tupou also had four tackles. A larger than life Matthews had three sacks, Derek Simmons, had two; Trey Henderson, Christian Tupou and Everson Griffen had one apiece.
Biggest hit of the day: In the north end zone of Howard Jones Field, Taylor Mays collided with Anthony McCoy. Both players got their bells rung. Mays took some time to get up. Five plays after the collision, McCoy was asking if he caught the ball.
Notes and Quotes from the Field
Allen Bradford commented on the first scrimmage of the Spring, "It felt real good, it was something we all looked forward to, because we could go full speed." We asked him what his thoughts were on his 73-yard touchdown run, he replied, "I just thought, I can't get caught, I gotta get into the endzone." Bradford said he is trying to be more physical this Spring and be more explosive.
Fullback Adam Goodman had an opportunity to play with the first unit, since Stanley Havili has been nursing a groin injury for the last week. Commenting on his opportunity, Goodman said, "I feel good, it's nice to get that knee brace off, running around out there and feeling more natural. It feels good to get out here to work out and fine tune things." He continued, "I had that ACL tear two seasons ago and had to wear a brace all last season, it feels good to run around out there without the brace."
Travon Patterson commented on the afternoon, "I felt good out there today, I did my job. I did all the little things today, I was working on my technique." Patterson has had two practices leading to the scrimmage where he has made impressive plays. He talked about his progress, "The first couple practices I was rusty, I just have to ‘go at it.' I'm just getting back in the football mode and now I'm ready to go. I've been rehabbing my toe and this is really my first time running (after the injury)."
Damian Williams who has had an impressive Spring, but injured his ankle a week ago commented on his injury, "I have strained extenders from my toes, basically tendons, I should recover soon. I'm icing it and stretching and hopefully will be back out there soon."
Blake Ayles (incoming tight end) commented on the scrimmage, "It was exciting to be out there. Looks like I need to put on a lot of weight. Anthony McCoy got banged-up out there. I look forward to coming out here in the summer."
The next Trojan practice is Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at Howard Jones-Brian Kennedy Field.