Preseason Game #4: Notes

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The 1st team defeated the service team 30-7 at the Coliseum in the final preseason game before Hawaii.

  • Please allow me to preface all of these observations with the caveat that I have no idea how no tackling scrimmages translate to the real deal next week.  The tempo was slow and the offense was not particularly sharp without the energy of a crowd or the threat of being clobbered by an angry defender.
  • With that said, the Trojans were not especially sharp today.  Lane Kiffin assumed that his team would clobber the service squad coached by Keary Colbert and Sammy Knight, but the reserves scrapped it out and made it difficult.
  • Matt Barkley threw two interceptions, which he attributed to poor timing with the intended freshmen receivers Markeith Ambles and Robert Woods.  "Still trying to get the timing down with the young guys, but they are correctable mistakes," Barkley said.  "It's on both of us."
  • Otherwise, Barkley feels like he is "near" the top of his game.
  • After one of Barkley's picks, Allen Bradford chucked safety Cody Romness to the ground as if to say, "Don't do that again!" 
  • The running backs were mostly ineffective today, but again, they are not allowed to break tackles.  I received a question about C.J. Gable's prospects this season.  Right now, he looks like the third back behind Marc Tyler and Allen Bradford with Dillon Baxter suspended, so he could use a big game against Hawaii to open some eyes.
  • Baxter starred with the service team today mostly as a receiver mimicking Hawaii's spread attack.
  • Speaking of freshmen, QB Jesse Scroggins was cleared to play by the NCAA Clearinghouse.  He watched the game from the sidelines.  They are still awaiting word about DB Demetrius Wright and FB Soma Vainuku.
  • Ronald Johnson returned the first punt.  Robert Woods handled the responsibility later in the scrimmage.  They might transition that role from RoJo to Woods as the season goes on, but I would air on the side of experience for the first game.
  • Kyle Prater has gone quiet.  Mostly due to health issues, the big receiver has been limited in camp and now seems rusty.  He still looks the part. 
  • The Trojans have not officially announced captains, but Matt Barkley, Shareece Wright, Stanley Havili and Malcolm Smith were the first four out on the field serving that role at least for the day.
  • The depth chart is expected to be out tomorrow.  We reported earlier this week that Tyler, Woods, Kennard and Robey are all likely to be on the top line.  Add Hebron Fangupo to the mix of potential starters.  Since recovering from a shoulder injury, he has pushed DaJohn Harris for first team reps at defensive tackle and he had a big scrimmage today.
  • Chris Galippo worked primarily at middle linebacker as Kennard's back-up in the game.  It may take some time for him to develop into a Swiss Army reserve role at all three backer spots.
  • Speaking of linebackers, Jerome corrected me last night.  The middle linebacker is referred to as the "Mike" not the "mic." 
  • With Nick Perry still sidelined, converted freshman tight end Christian Thomas was the back-up speed rusher for Wes Horton.
  • Quick prediction: The Trojans will block at least 8 kicks this year.  6'7" Matt Kalil spiked down a field goal attempt today.
  • The most intense moment of the evening was the initial charge out of the tunnel.  Even without fans, it felt real.  Ed Orgeron's voice is almost as loud as 90,000 people anyway.
  • On the tunnel walk, "You'll never lose that feeling ever.  Goosebumps running all down, chills, focused locked in like always," Nickell Robey described his first Coliseum experience.  "When that time does come, I know it's going to be awesome."
  • Matt Barkley summed up the general feeling leaving the Coliseum.  "I think I speak for the defense too when I say, we are just sick of playing each other.  We just want to play someone else and we're ready to hit the field."
  • Here is Lane Kiffin's presser on the scrimmage, Matt Leinart, playing Texas and more...

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No way they block more than 2 kicks, even if they're a great squad. If that's a real prediction, you're even dumber than I thought.

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