Saturday Practice: Tale of the Tape

After breaking down the film of the Trojans' 72-play scrimmage and evaluating the performance of the team, Pete Carroll said he was pleased with the overall production and effort, but also saw some areas for improvement.

Scrimmage Review

After breaking down the film of the Trojans' 72-play scrimmage and evaluating the performance of the team, Pete Carroll said he was pleased with the overall production and effort, but also saw some areas for improvement.

"It was really good work," Carroll said. "We spread the ball around to a lot of guys."

Matt Barkley and Mitch Mustain combined to complete 24-of-33 pass attempts during Friday's scrimmage and both showed good poise leading the team in a game setting.

"I thought we threw and caught the ball really well," Carroll said. "The receivers came through and the quarterbacks got the ball to them. It was a big percentage for the day for the quarterbacks."

Carroll once again singled out wide receiver De'Von Flournoy as one of the standout performers. The 6-foot, 180-pound freshman has been a consistent playmaker this fall and had 3 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.

The quarterbacks completed an impressive 73% of their passes, which was due in large part because of the amount of time they had in the pocket, thanks to play of the veteran offensive line.

"We are an experienced group, a good bunch of guys and Pat (Ruel) is working them hard," Carroll said. "The results were obvious. That's a very strongpoint of our team right now."

The offensive line had some issues run blocking but really excelled with pass protection, giving up just one sack on the day.

"The pass protection was really good. It was better than I even thought," Carroll said. "We thought we had some good opportunities for the quarterbacks."

Carroll praised redshirt freshmen linemen, Matt Kalil and Khaled Holmes, and said they have made great strides this fall.

"Those guys have made a big jump, which is what you hope to see after a year," Carrol said. "Both those guys are very competitive right now and they are helping us. They are pushing to get some playing time."

On the ground, Curtis McNeal had an impressive day rushing for a team-high 59 yards, and Marc Tyler had some tough runs inside, but after watching the film, Carroll said he would like to see the tailbacks be more physical.

"I made some generalizations to the team that I thought we needed to run harder with the football," Carroll said. "I didn't think as a group of running backs, that we really hit it like we can," Carroll said.

Carroll's main issue with the defense was a bit of sloppy tackling, which is common problem early in camp.

Carroll mentioned the entire Horton family, led by Shane's 5 tackles, as a bright spot on the defensive side of the ball.

"I thought Shane Horton played really well," he said. "He did a really nice job in this thing and Wes, his brother, those two guys.

"The Horton family, thanks to mom and dad were on it and played good football."

Hot Reads

- Simione Vehikite, Curtis McNeal, Jarvis Jones, Shareece Wright, Uona Kaveinga, Blake Ayles, T.J. McDonald, James Boyd and Marquis Simmons were among the players that didn't participate in Saturday's morning practice.

- Tailback Curtis McNeal, who had a team-high 59 rushing yards during Friday's scrimmage, wore a sling on his right arm after suffering a shoulder injury while being brought down by Hebron Fangupo.

"My arm was extended and all my weight pushed down on it," McNeal said. "They have my arm in a sling to keep it straight. It's really, really sore. "

McNeal expects to get the results of his x-rays later today.

- Freshman defensive lineman James Boyd has been sidelined because of a swollen knee. The cause of the swelling remains a mystery.

"James Boyd's knee blew up and he didn't hit it or wrench it. We aren't sure what's going on with that thing. He didn't hurt it; it just reacted to the workload so we don't know what that's about yet."

- Former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez had a nice start to his pro career. Sanchez's first pass as a pro was a 48-yard completion to David Clowney. Sanchez finished 3-of-4 for 88 yards in the loss.

"How about Sanchez last night? What a great start man," Carroll said of Sanchez's performance. "I can't wait to see the whole broadcast of it."

- Tight end Anthony McCoy had one of his better performances of the fall this morning. The 6-5, 250-pound senior pulled in a one-handed grab in traffic for a touchdown during 7-on-7 that was the highlight of the day.

"The one down the middle was a great throw and a great catch," Carroll said. "He was a little off his game the first couple of days but he is back to playing really consistently."

- After practice Pete Carroll said they are expecting big things for McCoy this season.

"We know we have a guy that can make things happen. I can't imagine that there are many tight ends that are better than him in the country, Carroll said. "We are really thinking that he should have a big role."

- Freshman wide receiver De'Von Flournoy has been arguably the most productive newcomer this fall. Carroll said Flournoy has stood out because of his ability to make a big play at nearly every practice.

"He has done something almost every day that he has been out here," Carroll said.

- Aaron Corp did some light throwing at the beginning of practice and continues to make progress.

"He's on the treadmill this afternoon and he did some half-speed drops and felt fine," Carroll said. "He's getting no negative feedback from the work that he is doing so they are just going to increase what he is doing. Mainly it will be how he responds to the work."

- Mitch Mustain followed up his impressive scrimmage performance with another solid practice Saturday morning. Mustain had two impressive throws in particular. On the first he hit Damian Williams up the middle of the field for a touchdown and later lofted a pass over the defenders head and into the hands of a streaking Travon Patterson for a 15-yard score.

- Linebacker Shane Horton led the team in tackles during Friday's scrimmage and added an interception on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore has had a smooth transition to the linebacker position and looks like a player that could contribute in '09.

- Damian Williams showed why he is considered one of the top wide receivers in the nation this morning, pulling a handful of nice catches including two touchdown receptions.

- The Trojans will return to the practice field for the second practice of the day at 4 p.m.

Pete Carroll singled out Matt Kalil for his impressive performance during the scrimmage.

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