It was a beautiful day at Howard Jones Friday. When I got to the practice field the entire team was walking in. After a lot of stretching the team went through some of their pregame rituals and exercises. You could sense the toll of a week of practice on the player's bodies.
Music was playing from loud speakers all through the scrimmage Friday. USC ran only a few drills. Quarterback Matt Barkley was picked off by safety Josh Pinkard in 7-on-7s, and then later in by safety Will Harris in what turned out to be a scrimmage one hour and a half long.
Veterans like Josh Pinkard, Kevin Thomas and Will Harris are taking advantage of Matt Barkley's inexperience and jumping his routes. Barkley struggles, like all freshmen, with disguising his routes and these veterans are watching film on him and jumping his routes.
A true freshman can only do so much and likes to keep things simple, but that doesn't work against players in a Trojan secondary who have been around 4-6 years.
Half way through the scrimmage I found myself surrounded by the USC song girls. MC Hammer was singing, "can't touch this" over the loud speakers and we were dancing in unison to the beat. I tried to get Kevin Carden to turn around and take a picture I could send to Mrs. SColdtimer and then thought better of it.
Quarterback Mitch Mustain had a good scrimmage and was effective with some underneath passes in a long touchdown drive. Wide Receiver De'von Flournoy caught two passes in between dropping one. He's had a good first week. DE Devon Kennard, WR Devon Flounoy, CB Torin Harris, and CB Byron Moore all worked at times with the first-team.
Barkley worked with the first-t team and second-team against the first-team defense. He was protected well. I only remember one sack and that was by Everson Griffen. At the end of the scrimmage Barkley threw a touchdown pass down the middle to David Ausberry. Ausberry must have been close to 100 receiving yards.
David Ausberry and Brice Butler have a good battle going on for that third wide receiver spot. And freshman De'Von Flournoy continues to get open.
There were some good battles between CB Shareece Wright and WR David Ausberry. Checking Ausberry at the line of scrimmage is a good way to get both arms dislocated. LB Shane Horton had another good day as did FS Drew McAllister. McAllister and LB Jordan Campbell were getting some help stretching before practice.
I didn't see SLB Jarvis Jones Friday. LT Charles Brown was working with the first-team offensive line at the beginning of the scrimmage with RG Nick Howell, C Kristopher O'Dowd, LG Jeff Byers and RT Tyron Smith.
The offense fumbled 3 times. Mitch Mustain on a bad exchange, RB CurtisMcNeal after a good gain, and RB Joe McKnight after a good punt return. Joe still doesn't know how to protect the ball.
RT/LT Kevin Graf got some reps with the second-team on Friday and made several good blocks as USC ran on the weak side down the field for a TD. DE Malik Jackson had a good day Friday with several tackles.
I still think Aaron Corp is USC's best bet to win the Ohio State game. USC's quarterback this year doesn't have to be successful. He needs to help his teammates be successful. Barkley isn't thinking that way yet. Matt wants to play. He can make throws Mustain and Corp can't. Matt is willing to challenge the secondary, but that's not always a good idea with the players USC has in their deep four.
Freshmen want to play.
Sophomores want to start.
Juniors want to win.
Seniors are thinking about the NFL.
There was a cool breeze blowing as I walked toward my car yesterday. I was collecting my thoughts. I got in the car and turned on the radio. They said Mark Sanchez was 3 out of 4 for the Jets for 88 yards.
I miss Mark Sanchez. Everything would be different if he had stuck around for one more year. I like Corp, Barkley and Mustain, the offense is loaded with great skill players, but I thought the scrimmage as a whole was flat. At least I left feeling that way, even after two hours of great music and being surrounded by song girls.
PS: If you have any questions about players and how they are doing. Fire away, and I'll answer them the best I can.
Oldtimer thinks Aaron Corp is the best option at QB. (Kaime Rodriguez Photo.)