Thursday Practice Report

The heat at the Coliseum wasn't the only reason for USC quarterback Matt Barkley to work up a sweat during Thursday's mock game, as he threw a pair of interceptions.

Not On The Same Page
The heat at the Coliseum wasn't the only reason for USC quarterback Matt Barkley to work up a sweat during Thursday's mock game.

Despite working against the scout team with players ruled down as soon as they were touched, Barkley threw a pair of interceptions on passes intended for freshmen receivers, with walk-on linebacker Will Andrew returning one 25 yards for a touchdown.

"I'm very upset with turning the ball over twice. I wouldn't have expected to turn the ball over twice and get no turnovers on the other side," coach Lane Kiffin said.

With newcomers Robert Woods, Markeith Ambles and Kyle Prater all set to see playing time this season, Kiffin said it was important to give them a chance to work out the kinks.

"That's why it was really good today to be in a situation like this, the most game-like that we could even though we weren't getting hit," Kiffin said. "The first interception, Robert was a little bit off on his route, a look that he hadn't seen exactly."

Kiffin admitted it is a calculated risk to put youngsters in crucial roles.

"That's always going to be a concern of ours. If you are going to live by the philosophy of playing young guys, you have to have an expectation, unfortunately, that they're going to make mistakes. They're going to make mistakes in these first couple of games. All of them always do. The philosophy we live by is: It's going to happen. We're going to get it out of them right now so they can help us win down the stretch, as opposed to waiting until somebody gets hurt in the Week 4 or Week 5, and in the middle of conference play you throw a guy out there for the first time in a critical game," he said.

Barkley finished the afternoon completing 15 of 24 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns.

Scroggins Cleared
After admitting uncertainty with his third quarterback, Kiffin got some good news when the NCAA cleared freshman Jesse Scroggins on Thursday.

Scroggins arrived at the Coliseum wearing his jersey about an hour into practice, but didn't participate. While the staff would prefer to redshirt Scroggins, he could be called upon in an emergency at Hawaii with versatile running back Dillon Baxter suspended for that game.

The challenge now is to bring him up to speed after missing a week of practice without overloading him.

"We just do as much as we can, spend as much meeting time as we're allowed to with him and try to get him ready. There's obviously some situations he'd be in play for us," Kiffin said.

Hot Reads
-Baxter had six receptions for 70 yards working with the scout team. Baxter has been portraying Hawaii wide receiver Greg Salas this week.

Salas caught 106 passes for 1,590 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

-TE Jordan Cameron had a game-high 75 yards on two receptions, with a 22-yard touchdown. WR Ronald Johnson caught three balls for 38 yards, while Robert Woods had three for 24 including an acrobatic 4-yard touchdown.

-DT Jurrell Casey had four tackles, including 2.5 sacks.

-DT Hebron Fangupo saw increased reps with the first team defense.

-Hawaii is expecting a crowd of more than 40,000 next Thursday and is still hoping for a sellout, Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said in a conference call with reporters.


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