Thursday Practice: All About the Ball

The Trojans' quarterbacks hadn't thrown a single interception in the first five practices of the fall but the defense got some revenge during the morning session of Thursday's two-a-days. Look inside for more from Howard Jones Field.

All About the Ball

The Trojans' quarterbacks hadn't thrown a single interception in the first five practices of the fall but the defense got some revenge during the morning session of Thursday's two-a-days.

"It's our first day of two-a-days, so we are trying to get into this mode where we get to have good football practices, morning and afternoon," Carroll said.

The interception total quickly went from zero to three with Josh Pinkard, Byron Moore and Jarvis Jones all picking off passes from Matt Barkley.

"It finally happened; the defense finally started getting the ball," Carroll said. "The defense started making some plays that we could convert on."

Pinkard and Moore both made good reads to cut in front of the intended receivers and came up with big plays in the end zone.

Moore's interception would have likely been returned 100 yards for a touchdown in a game situation. Jarvis Jones added an interception on a pass that bounced off the hands of Damian Williams.

Overall, Barkley had a mixed day under center and didn't get much help from his receivers, who dropped a handful of passes.

"We did have a lot of drops today which is a good challenge for us to come back on this afternoon and turn it," Carroll said. "The lesson is really clear. You don't want to let things that go awry compound. We have talked about that and we will address that in the afternoon practice."

While Barkley had his share of struggles, he also made some terrific throws. He hit Damian Williams in stride behind the defense for a 45-yard touchdown and also connected with Brice Butler and David Ausberry for short touchdown passes.

After practice, Carroll said he was pleased at how the young signal caller bounced back after the turnovers.

"Look what he did at the end of practice," Carroll said. "He ripped a couple of balls and took the team down the field for a field goal and then he came back again and threw a touchdown pass at the end of it.

"He will be fine but all of these lessons will be important for us."

Hot Reads

- Defensive tackle Averell Spicer wore a boot on his sprained right ankle and said he will undergo an MRI today.

- Incoming freshman Patrick Hall was at practice today and will participate for the first time this afternoon. Hall is coming in as a defensive back, but Carroll didn't rule out the possibility of Hall getting a look on the offensive side of the ball.

"He's a guy that is such a versatile player that we aren't sure where to play him right now. I would like to have a little punt, pass and kick contest out here for him. We have always thought about him playing on the defensive side but he's an extraordinary offensive player too. We will just start him out and see what happens and mix him around a little bit."

- It's all about the ball: Pete Carroll talked about the importance of winning the turnover battle once again on Thursday, and had a remarkable stat to emphasize his point. The Trojans are 47-0 in the last 47 games when in the plus side in turnover margin.

- With Joe McKnight limited during spring due to injury, this fall has been the first time that quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates has seen the elusive tailback at full speed, and he is thrilled with what he has seen thus far.

"He's coming out here with juice and with energy. He has a passion for the game. I'm really excited for him," Bates said. "He's doing everything the right way. He's really focused. He asks questions. He wants to be great. I'm excited to have him on the team.

"I think he's a special guy. I don't want to get into what all we're doing with him right now, but I think you're going to see a lot from Joe McKnight this year."

- The Trojans will return to the practice field this afternoon at 4 p.m.


Freshman cornerback Byron Moore had an interception on Thursday.


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