Spring Practice #12: Notes

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The defense pitched a shutout until D.J. Morgan scored to cap the Coliseum scrimmage.

  • Here are the relevant QB stats: Matt Barkley - 17/28 for 154 yards, Jesse Scroggins - 4/5 for 48 yards and an INT, Cody Kessler - 3/4 for 6 yards, Max Wittek - 1/4 for 33 yards.
  • Leading rushers: Curtis McNeal - 13 carries for 49 yards, D.J. Morgan - 14 carries for 51 yards and a TD.
  • Leading receivers: Robert Woods - 8 catches for 71 yards, Brandon Carswell - 3 catches for 43 yards, De'Von Flournoy - 3 catches for 29 yards.
  • Leading tacklers: Marquis Simmons  and Will Andrew - 6 tackles.  Eric Childs and DaJohn Harris - 2 tackles for loss.
  • Barkley and Woods did hook up twice for scores in goal line drills.
  • The best offense of the day came from freshman kicker Andre Heidari, who drilled a 50-yarder to ring in the three horns.
  • While Lane Kiffin was largely disappointed with the performances of most of the freshmen on offense, he named freshman LB Hayes Pullard the MVP of the day.  "I'm just doing everything the coaches tell me to do," said the fast rising linebacker.  "My mindset coming into spring was just to learn the playbook, learn from the older guys and just get better."
  • Throughout spring, the front four has been disruptive, but today the back seven stood out.  LB Dallas Kelley made the play of the day stepping in front of a Jesse Scroggins pass for the lone forced turnover.
  • And on the outside, the corners are much more physical now than the group last fall.  With Nickell Robey, Tony Burnett and Anthony Brown, they are more than willing to mix it up.  "We're a little more hungry," said Burnett.  "We're young and trying to get our playing time.  In order for people to respect our swagger, we've got to make them respect it by hitting them."
  • The scrimmage was narrated by Ed Orgeron, who could smell blood as his defense consistently dominated.  The more the offense struggled; the more he let everyone know about it. 
  • As for offensive highlights, Max Wittek tossed a gorgeous sideline rainbow for a 33-yard completion to Woods. 
  • Meanwhile, Curtis McNeal continues to impress.  The little guy looks like a scat back, but he refuses to be stereotyped.  [Jacquizz Rodgers] was an every down back at Oregon State," McNeal welcomed the comparison.  "Why can't I do that at USC?"
  • As for Coach John Baxter's claim that McNeal could have blocked three punts last year if he were eligible, "I have got a pretty good dip and drive move," McNeal admitted.  "If you want to be on the highlights, you will listen to Coach Baxter."
  • USC greats WR Keyshawn Johnson and OL Ryan Kalil attended practice.  Kalil was there to support his younger brother (interview coming soon!), while Johnson was invited to speak to the team (video coming soon!).  "It means a lot to us," Burnett said about the great Trojans coming back.  "When we hopefully get to where they are, we'll take their advice because they have already been through it."
  • Here are Coach Kiffin's abbreviated post-practice remarks since he and the team had to board a bus for Swim with Mike (video coming soon!)...

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