USC Scrimmage Report

Led by Hebron Fangupo's interception, there wasn't anything the stout Trojan defensive line couldn't do Saturday.

Small Victories
Lane Kiffin will take victories where he can find them.

So when the Trojans exited Saturday's scrimmage without any new injuries, the first-year coach was glad to call that a win.

"On an extremely positive note, we're standing here three hours later with no injuries during an 111-play scrimmage," Kiffin said. "It worked from that standpoint."

With the USC roster decimated by a variety of nagging ailments, Kiffin elected to all but eliminate hitting from what he had dubbed preseason game three. The de-facto end of fall camp had been planned as a final full-contact practice, but that was nixed as the already thin numbers fell even lower during the week.

And even though tackling was mostly prohibited, that didn't prevent the starting defense from walloping quarterback Matt Barkley and the first-unit offense once again.

In a near-replay of the first two scrimmages, the defensive line manhandled the banged up front five, which was without projected starting guards Butch Lewis (groin) and Khaled Holmes (neck).

Defensive end Armond Armstead had two tackles for loss and tackle Jurrell Casey frequently harassed Barkley.

Even their oft-overlooked counterparts got into the act, with Hebron Fangupo intercepting Mitch Mustain.

"The interception by Loni was a great play by him," Kiffin said. "He was supposed to probably be out and pushed himself out there, got himself on the field. They're tough. DaJohn Harris has had a great camp and continues to make plays, cause havoc in the backfield and knock our guards around a lot."

Mustain was intercepted twice, even derailing his much anticipated shot at the No. 1 defense. His only snap against the starters was intercepted by Torin Harris.

Kiffin said the four passes intercepted was as much a testament to the defense as a black mark on the offense.

"They spend all day planning for the offense, to take away certain things, and the players responded," he said. "Four interceptions and two fumbles in a game that's non-contact, that's a great job by the defense, and obviously not a great job by the offense."

Shareece Wright had one of those interceptions, a 35-yard pick six of Barkley, who completed 13 of 29 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

While the defense had dominated in past scrimmages, that had yet to turn into takeaways.

"I needed it," Wright said. "I needed that. I haven't had too many of those during camp. It's always good to get one."

As relieved as Wright was to step in front of a teammates' pass, he was more pleased at the prospect of doing so to someone not wearing cardinal and gold.

"We been beating on each other for almost a month now, so we are excited to go play someone else," he said. "We're tired of beating on our offense, our offense is tired of beating on us. I just can't wait to let that out on someone else."

Quick Hits
-RB Allen Bradford (bruised knee) did not participate in the scrimmage. He said he hoped to return Monday.

"It was a little stiff last night but I felt better this morning and I was getting treatment all morning," Bradford said. "It feels better right now."

While Bradford had been penciled in as the starting tailback for months, Kiffin said that might be the last position to be settled.

"We're going to go figure that out, and that may be the one thing we don't have figured out because of the limited information and the tackling. We may have to keep figuring that out. Nobody's the starting tailback right now," he said.

In Bradford's absence, Marc Tyler rushed for a team-high 84 yards with one touchdown.

-Kiffin said he hoped to make a decision on the starting middle linebacker and split end next week.

"We'll go back in and watch this film," he said. "I hope to have a lot of that figured out when we come back out here to practice on Monday. As we really start to get towards Hawaii, hopefully we won't have any more questions as far as the front-line guys."


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