Trojan Huddle Observations

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01: Head coach Lane Kiffin gives instructions in the offensive huddle during the USC Trojans spring game on May 1, 2010 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It was a beautiful day to play football at the Coliseum in downtown Los Angeles today. I hope that it symbolizes a bright future for the USC football program as fans got a taste of what Kiffin is cooking at USC.

Fans were given schedule posters and rosters who ever attended the scrimmage, who wouldn't want a huge portrait of Lane Kiffin looking tough hung up in their room, office, garage?

Anyway, teams were divided by white and cardinal jerseys with white being the offense and cardinal being the defense. There was no punting in the game, only field goal kicking. There wasn't a kickoff as every drive starts at the 30-yard line.

The offense:

  • The first half was really bland for the offense. Barkley and Mustain accounted for one touchdown in the first half, which was a pass from Mustain to Havili who caught it from 10 yards away from the end zone to record his first of three touchdowns. Havili had a great day catching the ball. He caught 3 TDs all north of 20 yards with a 58 yarder in the third quarter by football/players/78122/John_Manoogian" class="sbn-auto-link">John Manoogian.
  • Mustain bested Barkley today in the QB battle. I don't think both tossed an INT (though Barkley came real close), but Mustain had a good feel with the offense today.
  • Travon Patterson also had a nice day. The senior caught a 40-yard pass from Barkley in the second quarter and another in the third aided by a great block by Prater.
  • Dillon Baxter was the star of the scrimmage as he made a couple of "crowd-pleasers" including a 58-yard run in which he flashed several spin moves and jukes. That really pumped up the crowd to where fans behind me said he was going to be "the next Reggie". I don't know if Baxter will be that, but he demonstrated today that he was the top all-purpose back freshman tailback in the nation.
  • Overall, I think the line did a good job. Matt Kalil made an offside penalty, but that was it. The line got chewed in the first half, but rebounded nicely in the second half. Tyron Smith did a great job against the line that featured DEs like Armstead and Perry.

The defense:

  • Shareece Wright was hands down the MVP of the defense. He covered Brice Butler tighter than a straight jacket while defelecting Barkley's passes, one where he tipped the ball and almost intercepted it, I saw three, but there could have been more. Crowd was really pleased to see him ball.
  • Opposite of Wright, cornerback Torrin Harris also made good plays, including a blistering tackle he made after Butler caught a pass by Barkley.
  • Safeties Jawanza Starling and TJ McDonald held their own. Starling deflected a few passes while McDonald made some great tackles. I was very impressed by Starling, he hasn't practiced as much as all the other safeties in the squad, yet he makes plays. I expect a breakout year from the both of them next season.
  • Enough of the secondary, the defensive line showed the audience in the first half of what they were made of. Barkley and Mustain were never comfortable as Armstead and Perry overmatched the tackles at times, which made the QBs hurry up their passes. Armstead was credited with one sack, though it looked like in a real game he could have made 3. Same goes with Perry, who silenced some critics about him not being a run-stopper by stopping Bradford a couple of times.
  • Hebron "Loni" Fangupo is down in the depth chart, but was clearly the run-stopper. The newly-engaged man didn't hide his emotions as he was always fist pumping or jumping up-and-down everytime he was on the field.

More notes after the jump...

Some notes:

  • Curtis McNeal had a lot of reps today and broke for a few good runs. Allen Bradford made a good run or two, but never quite looked comfortable against the defense. Gable had a great catch, but made only short burst plays, same goes to Marc Tyler
  • Rojo was wearing a yellow jersey, but didn't play because of his wrist
  • Matt Barkley left the game after he hurt his hand, but reports say he's OK. Makes sense why him and Jurrell Casey, who was sent to the locker room after he clipped Matt that resulted in that injury, were missing
  • Jordan Cameron played well at tight-end and should be on top of the depth chart
  • Kennard made some solid plays at middle linebacker and I thought he did better than Galippo. Galippo's reps were heavy in the first half, and Kennard mostly played MIKE in the second
  • DaJohn Harris played really well and gave the QBs trouble, the OGs had a tough time with him all day
  • You could hear coach O from the nosebleed section
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