It was one of those days where it was hard to tell if the glass was half-full or half-empty, watching quarterback Matt Barkley and the first-team offense manage just one touchdown during Sunday's scrimmage, the first practice of fall camp held in full pads.
Even without defensive end Armond Armstead, held out after missing practices earlier in the week because of dehydration, the No. 1 defensive line wreaked havoc. Running back Allen Bradford was held to minus-five yards on six carries and Barkley was under constant pressure.
That dominance was a far cry from the end of last season, when the defense fell apart against Oregon and Stanford. But it came against an offensive line missing two projected starters.
The lone bright spot on offense was tight end Jordan Cameron, who had eight receptions for 96 yards.
"He wants to play," said Barkley, who finished 9 of 15 for 127 yards and a touchdown. "Whether it's lining up in the backfield or splitting out as a receiver or playing tight end, he wants reps. He's loving it."
After having the tight end spot all to himself in the spring, Cameron had disappeared somewhat through the first week of practice with the arrival of three touted freshmen and return of redshirt junior Rhett Ellison.
However, he reemerged with several impressive catches at a weight better suited for the inline blocking demanded of the position. Cameron put on nearly 20 pounds over the summer and now playing at 250 pounds.
"I've had a lot of time to think about it and am kind of relishing the moment," Cameron said. "I've been taking responsibility of getting in the weight room and in the film room.
"The weight I've gained, I feel more powerful and more confident in my abilities."
Quarterback Mitch Mustain and running back Curtis McNeal also performed well, working with the second-team offense. McNeal rushed for a team-high 57 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown in which he bowled over freshman defensive back Demetrius Wright.
Mustain completed 23 of 35 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, but Kiffin said Barkley remains the starter.
"I wouldn't say (Matt) is far, far ahead, but that's a good thing," Kiffin said.
David Ausberry caught both touchdown passes.
-Fullback Stanley Havili, defensive end James Boyd, safety Drew McAllister, offensive tackle Martin Coleman, wide receivers Kyle Prater, Brandon Carswell and De'Von Flournoy and tight end Blake Ayles missed Sunday's scrimmage.
-Linebacker Devon Kennard had a team-high seven tackles.
-Freshman Christian Thomas played both tight end and defensive end, posting a sack and 20-yard reception.
-Joe Houston and Jacob Harfman each missed an extra point, while Harfman missed the day's lone field goal attempt wide left.
"I didn't expect it," Kiffin said. "I thought we had made a lot of ground there."
-Walk-on linebacker Alonso Augusto intercepted a Jesse Scroggins pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown, the lone turnover of the 93-play scrimmage.
Defensive tackles DaJohn Harris caused havoc in the backfield.
*Discuss more on the SCPlaybook.com message boards