USC Scrimmage Report

Lane Kiffin made his bones directing the legendary 2005 USC offense led by Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Dwayne Jarrett. For a half Saturday, Matt Barkley, Dillon Baxter and Ronald Johnson did their best impressions of those three, showing the potential of this Trojan attack.

Flashback attack

Lane Kiffin made his bones directing the legendary 2005 USC offense led by Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Dwayne Jarrett.

For a half Saturday, Matt Barkley, Dillon Baxter and Ronald Johnson did their best impressions of those three, showing the potential of this Trojan attack.

Barkley threw for 173 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Johnson twice for scores. Baxter rushed for 94 yards on nine carries, with a mesmerizing 50-yard touchdown scamper that drew comparisons to Bush's performance against Fresno State en route to the Heisman Trophy.

"Kind of looks like things that used to happen here before," defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron said.

"It didn't matter who was there, nobody could tackle him," Kiffin said.


Matt Barkley tossed three touchdown passes on Saturday.
"That one run down the sideline, I thought he was out of bounds three times," Barkley said. "Unreal. We have to get more of those San Diego guys out here."

Naturally destined to draw comparisons to Bush as a fellow San Diegan, the true freshman is showing even more similarities with his fluid movements, demonstrating an electric series of cuts, spins and jukes.

On his touchdown run, he took a Student Body Left pitch down the sideline and made defenders look silly.

"Originally, I was going to cut back but when I did the stutter step, the corner fell and I kept going. It all worked out," Baxter said.

A svelte back operating at right around 200 pounds – "I can't get that 201," he joked – Baxter doesn't have the elite breakaway speed of Bush.

"Reggie had a lot of speed. Mainly I just try to get that one cut and try and get out a little bit.

I don't have the fastest straight away speed, but I can make a couple dudes miss," he said.

Johnson didn't have to worry about making anyone miss, blazing past T.J. Bryant for a 70-yard score. He finished with 167 yards on four catches.

But after posting 28 points in the first half, the offense managed just one touchdown.

"Then all of a sudden at halftime, I saw our offense get a little relaxed, the defense get a little re-motivated and the defense completely shutdown the offense," Kiffin said.

"Same players, different mindset. It's good for our guys to learn."

Juicy does it again

It seemed oddly familiar, seeing defensive tackle DaJohn Harris rumble down the sideline with the ball in his hands. This time, however, Mitch Mustain pulled him down from behind after 52 yards.

"Man, Mitch runs a 4.6, so it's not my fault," Harris said.

After taking a Barkley interception back for a touchdown last week, the redshirt junior dominated with a team-high five tackles, three for loss, one pass breakup and the strip sack, forced fumble and recovery, the only turnover in the scrimmage.

"We can't touch the quarterbacks, so I barely just like nicked it, so it came out and I took it and ran," he said.

Harris has emerged as perhaps the biggest surprise of the spring, going from a non-factor to a key contributor in just six practices. He credited Orgeron with helping him develop a new attitude.

"He is getting me fundamentally sound, going as hard as I can every rep and take it play-by-play every day," said Harris, who is now up over 300 pounds. "I'm a little quicker, even though I gained weight."

Reiterating a constant theme through the first two weeks, Kiffin called the defensive line "the best position on our team right now and the deepest."

Hot Reads

-Cornerback Torin Harris (right hamstring) and guard Butch Lewis (thigh) were among those who missed the scrimmage. The Trojans worked with only one tight end, Jordan Cameron, and one fullback, Stanley Havili. Cameron caught two passes for 18 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown from Barkley.

-In a two-play sequence, safety Byron Moore leveled Johnson on a reverse, then tackled Allen Bradford for a two-yard loss.

-Brice Butler dropped a wide-open post pattern and no other receiver aside from Johnson stood out.

"We've got to find more receivers," Kiffin said. "We've got one guy who is operating at a championship level and a bunch of other guys, so we've got to figure out who the rest of these guys are so we can compliment RoJo."

Kyle Prater had five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown, but reinjured his hamstring.


USC defensive tackle DaJohn Harris had another impressive day on Saturday.


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