Spring Practice #9: Notes

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On a chilly and rainy Saturday, about 1,000 Trojan die-hards braved the conditions to watch an open scrimmage inside the Coliseum...

  • The injury report remained the same, but WR Victor Blackwell left practice early with a pair of minor injuries.  Without Blackwell or Marqise Lee (track and field), USC had only one scholarship receiver.
  • The scrimmage was basically Max Wittek vs. Cody Kessler as the two redshirt freshmen vie to be Matt Barkley's backup.  Wittek started with the ones and Kessler the twos then they switched teams at halftime.  Without most of the skill players, the offensive line was really the only difference between the first and second team offense.
  • Wittek-sprac9-McG.JPGWittek (pictured) led the only two touchdown drives capped by Curtis McNeal and Tre Madden TD runs, but both quarterbacks posted similar stats.  "They seem very mature when you are around the huddle with them," Lane Kiffin praised both signal-callers.  "I'd be very comfortable with both of them [running the offense in a game]."
  • Kessler's best drive came after a 14-yard scramble for a first down.  "If there's a lane open, I'll tuck it run," said Kessler whose mobility is comparable to Mark Sanchez.  He's more likely to use his feet on roll-outs, but he's willing to take off when the play breaks down.
  • Kessler on the backup QB competition with Wittek: "You can't come out here thinking that I'm just trying to beat this guy out.  [We] both know that we'll be competing in the future with Jesse [Scroggins] when Matt leaves.  Right now, we're just trying to learn as much as we can from Matt and compete with Matt at the same time."
  • RB Tre Madden was the other player fans came to see.  The converted back started slowly, but picked up a 4th-and-1 on the last drive before breaking a 13-yard run and then the TD.  "I think I built some momentum," said Madden, who was most happy that he did not fumble despite the wet conditions.
  • Madden was a quarterback his senior year in high school, so he's a true dual threat in the Wildcat.  The coaches have taken notice of his arm and began installing a package for him today.
  • The scrimmage was not a thing of beauty with so many first team players missing.  Kiffin left the play-calling duties in the hands of Clay Helton, Kennedy Polamalu and Matt Barkley.  "I had a feeling what the stats would be like so I didn't want those on my resume," Kiffin joked.  "It's just good at times to let other guys get involved."
  • Walk-on WR Cody Skene was the leading receiver today and named the MVP by Kiffin.  At just 5'9", 165 lbs., he may not push Robert Woods and Marqise Lee for playing time, but he had a couple nice moments to remember in front of a Coliseum crowd.   
  • Despite having a cast on one hand, S Drew McAllister was the leading tackler.  The defensive line dominated including a sack by DT Antwaun Woods.
  • We could not flipcam the Kiffin presser because music was drowning out the coach's voice.  Instead, here's the John McGillen photo gallery from the day...

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