2013 Spring Practice #3: Notes

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The Trojans scrimmaged with live tackling in the Coliseum for the first time this spring.
  • The offense only scored one touchdown in 52 plays thanks to Clancy Pendergast's attack-minded 5-2 scheme which was living in the backfield, including five sacks. (Pendergast pictured from Thursday night)
  • Pendergast-Spring2-McG.jpgQB Max Wittek and WR Marqise Lee both suffered knee injuries during practice and sat out the scrimmage.  Lane Kiffin announced that both will have further testing before a diagnosis is announced.  Lee stood and cheered his teammates throughout the scrimmage, while Wittek rested on the trainer's table with ice on his knee.
  • With Wittek down, Cody Kessler took full advantage of his increased opportunity.  He completed 12 of 15 passes for 192 yards.  "He kind of did what Cody does which is show up in these formats," said Kiffin about Kessler.  "He's always been a gamer."
  • Freshman QB Max Browne was less effective in terms of moving the ball, but he did connect with Nelson Agholor on a 43-yard TD strike.  He also made a perfect throw for a potential six that freshman WR Darreus Rogers dropped.  Browne finished 2/7 for 48 yards and a TD.
  • George Farmer led the way at receiver with three catches for 74 yards.  D.J. Morgan (4 carries for 16 yards) and Justin Davis (4 carries for 11 yards) were the primary ball carriers, but there were no big plays in the running game.
  • The offensive rhythm was consistently halted by center-quarterback exchange issues.  Max Tuerk is still adjusting to his new role after moving from left tackle this spring.  "Obviously, we don't like it, but it's not a major concern," said Kiffin about his new center.  "We need to fix it."  Kessler said he and Tuerk were going to practice 100 more snaps after the scrimmage.
  • The offensive line as a unit "has a ways to go." Kiffin does like the improvement of OT Chad Wheeler who has gained 64 pounds in about two years, according to Kiffin.
  • The real stars of the day were on the defensive side of the ball.  Lamar Dawson was named the practice MVP recording a team-high six tackles, including two for loss, playing back-up middle linebacker.  "He's really taking to the new scheme playing aggressive in the run," said Kiffin about Dawson.  "As those guys go into their third year, a lot of time that's when they really step it up and I think Lamar is one of those guys."
  • The stand-up outside linebacker/defensive end hybrids have adjusted quickly.  Morgan Breslin had four tackles for loss and Devon Kennard recorded a sack.  "I love it so far," said Kennard about the new defense.  "It definitely brings the best out of everyone.  It gets us in the best situation to make plays."
  • In the secondary, freshman Su'a Cravens recorded four tackles and played the nickel spot with the first team.  Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast compared Cravens body type to former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Woodson, who he coached in Dallas.  Woodson played nickel for the Cowboys because "we liked his length and ability to tackle on the perimeter," said Pendergast.  "That's one spot we want to take a look at Su'a at.  Obviously, we want to get the best 11 guys on the field, and we feel like he could possibly be one of those guys."
  • Here is Lane Kiffin who broke down the state of the roster by position group after the first week of spring practice...

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