The competition for the No.3 wide receiver spot was supposed to be one of the biggest battles of the fall, with David Ausberry, Brice Butler, Travon Patterson, Jordan Cameron and Brandon Carswell all showing promise and the ability to make plays. But after the first week of fall camp, David Ausberry has separated himself from the pack and appears to be the man for the job.
"So far David's in that top three right now," Pete Carroll responded when asked if Ausberry is the No.3 receiver. "David just has really been on the mark."
The talented wideout has shown flashes of brilliance during practice in the past, but has never shown the consistency that he has to this point in fall camp.
"We've always given David the opportunity to be that guy because he has a lot of talent. It's just taken him a while," Carroll said. "It took Patrick (Turner) a while; it took Patrick till his junior year before he really got going. I think David is ready to be a huge factor."
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior has been arguably the most impressive wide receiver in camp and had a team-high 73 receiving yards and touchdown during Friday's 72-play scrimmage.
"Every day he's been out here he's competed really well and been a big factor," Carroll said. "We know we can go to him and get things out of David play after play. That's different than it's been."
Ausberry gives the Trojans a big, physical presence in the passing game that perfectly complements the playmaking ability of Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson, who have established themselves as one of the best wide receiver duos in college football.
"He knows what he's doing. He's improved out here when he catches the ball. He's really hard to cover; he just knocks cornerbacks around when he goes up for the football," Carroll said. "I think he's 235 or 237. And he's rocked up."
At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Ausberry has been a matchup nightmare against smaller defensive backs, using his big frame to shield the defenders from the ball in traffic, and could be a huge asset for the Trojans' in the red zone.
"He's really ready to bust out for us," Carroll said. "I don't see any reason to think other than that."
Physical Like Fargas?
Pete Carroll let it be known that he was unhappy with the play of the running backs after Friday's scrimmage, and the Trojans' stable of backs responded with an impressive performance today, led by the tough running of Allen Bradford.
"I thought Allen Bradford was real obvious today," Carroll said. "He had a very good day in a number of situations."
Bradford set the tone during the inside-run period by running over linebacker Chris Galippo.
"We're looking for him and Marc (Tyler) and whoever else wants to jump into it to be a physical presence for us," Carroll said. "They know that. We've been talking to them about that.
To get some inspiration, Carroll showed Bradford and Tyler a video of former USC tailback Justin Fargas.
"I had them both look at Justin Fargas, some highlights we had of when he played Oregon. He really made a big statement, and our offense changed from that point forward. I wanted to make sure that they saw how he ran in that game. As that game went on, he wore them down. At the end of the game he was busting runs."
On the day, Bradford and Joe McKnight each had two touchdowns, Stafon Johnson added another.
- Jordan Cameron (hamstring), James Boyd (knee), T.J. McDonald (ankle), Uona Kaveinga (shoulder), Averell Spicer (ankle) and Aaron Corp (cracked fibula) were among the players that didn't practice on Sunday.
- Tailback Curtis McNeal went through some non-contact drills and hopes to return to practice at some point next week.
"I just have a lot of swelling in my shoulder," McNeal said. "The X-rays said my shoulder is normal but I have a lot of swelling on one of my joints."
- Freshman linebacker Jarvis Jones returned to practice but was held out of the contact drills. Jones had a quick start to camp, playing both the middle and strong-side linebacker spots but has been limited because of headaches.
- Recruit Watch: 2010 athlete Dietrich Riley was in attendance for Sunday's practice.
- Corp watch: "Corp did a little more throwing today. He's making progress. He threw some routes to guys," Carroll said. "That's good. Basically out of the shotgun where he's not dropping back a lot. It's good to see him be able to muscle the ball out there and throw it hard. It's a good sign."
"He's been really solid. Tremendous pass-protection guy. Excellent blocker," Carroll said of Gable. "He's run tough and done everything right. He had one ball that got away from him on a handoff early on, but he's been really solid with the football other than that."
"I thought Mitch had a good day today. Really in the last three or four days he's improved," Carroll said. "His confidence looks like it's stepped up. He feels like he's in the middle of this thing. It's great to see that."
- For Sale: Utility player Garrett Green missed practice to get his real estate license.
"I think he's out assessing my house," Carroll joked.
- Monday Night Football: The Trojans are holding a scrimmage at the Coliseum on Monday night. The scrimmage starts at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
Mitch Mustain had his third-straight good practice on Sunday. (Jaime Rodriguez Photo)
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