USC Football Fall Camp: Trojan Defense Dominates In Coliseum Scrimmage


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

USC held its final scrimmage of Fall Camp before the season kicks off Sept. 1, and in a somewhat surprising outcome, the defensive squad absolutely dominated the offense. To be sure, the offense had its shining moments as well, but for a unit plagued by injuries and depth, the D put on a stellar performance. It is also worth noting that many of the first team offensive starters only played the second half, as live tackling took place in the first half.

Here’s a breakdown of the scrimmage:

Offense Notes

  • On the very first play of the scrimmage, Silas Redd fumbled after an 11-yard gain. He ended the day with 59 yards on nine carries, and an impressive stiff arm on S Gerald Bowman.
  • Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, and Matt Barkley played sporadically in the first half, and Barkley and Lee connected for 19 yards at one point. Woods led the receivers, with four catches for 67 yards.
  • After a total of four plays, Barkley and C Khaled Holmes were done for the day, but not because of injury.
  • Barkley completed 8 of 19 passes for 119 yards, one TD and 2 INTs. The TD was a 25-yard pass to FB Soma Vainuku.
  • RT Kevin Graf did not play. Aundrey Walker started at LT and walk-on Nathan Guertler, at RT.
  • In the battle for QB 2, neither Cody Kessler nor Max Wittek had a particularly good scrimmage. Kessler went 3-8 for 29 yards and 1 TD, and Wittek went 6-16 for 104. Wittek also threw two picks.
  • Kessler’s two scoring drives: A 1-yd TD pass to WR Victor Blackwell and a 17-yard run that set up a 20-yard TD run by DJ Morgan.
  • Morgan gained 31 yards in 7 carries on the day.
  • Freshman WR Nelson Agholor played well in the first half, getting three early catches for 33 yards.
  • WR George Farmer dazzled with a 50-yd kickoff return, but not much other than that.
  • The only real injury scare came when WR De’von Flournoy got lit up along the sideline and stayed down for about a minute. He later got up and was back in the scrimmage.

Defensive Notes:

  • The USC defense forced five turnovers and two turnovers on downs.
  • S T.J McDonald, DL George Uko, and LB Scott Starr got the interceptions, with Starr recording a pair of them. One came when Bowman tipped Wittek’s pass.
  • DE J.R. Tavai, DE Greg Townsend, DE Wes Horton, LB Dion Bailey, CB Brian Baucham, LB Lamar Dawson all were inactive Sunday.

Final Notes:

  • The scrimmage ran for 83 plays and the offense produced five turnovers and 11 penalties. Obviously, Coach Kiffin was not pleased with the first team’s performance, and said so in the media scrum.
  • Many starters began the scrimmage on the bikes and then came into play later. Marqise Lee noted after the game that this kind of threw him off.
  • Lee also got into a minor scuffle with walk-on CB Ryan Dillard in the face after getting frustrated on a play. Kiffin removed him from the scrimmage, and when it was over, Lee took it upon himself to apologize to Dillard and the whole team. He noted that he would “never” do that in a game.
  • In the media scrum, the last question asked to Kiffin was if any of the receivers other than Lee or Woods stood out to him? He replied with only one word: “No.”
  • A gaggle of USC commits were on the sidelines for the scrimmage: Chris Hawkins, Max Redfield, Kylie Fitts, Steven Mitchell and Nico Falah.

The Trojans pick up training camp again Monday, with only a week left before school starts and two until the season kicks off. They are entering the homestretch of preparation, before they are tasked with putting it on the line against Hawaii.