2013 Spring Game: Notes

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In front of 15,284 Trojan fans, USC wrapped up spring ball with the annual Coliseum scrimmage.

Click the highlighted names for individual post-game reaction videos...
  • With 20 players out injured, the Trojans did not tackle so that they could have enough players to give the fans a show for two hours.  Lane Kiffin even recruited former OL Jeremy Galten to play tight end for the day, and named him the MVP after the scrimmage, so USC had more than one player at the position.  Under NCAA rules, former players are allowed to practice sporadically.
  • Thumbnail image for Lee-Kiffin-Autographs.JPGKiffin: "I really thought today was very similar to the first 14 combined.  Some of the same good things and some of the same issues."
  • While spring practice has come to an end, no decision has been made in the quarterback battle, and Kiffin did not acknowledge any clear separation between the candidates.  However, Cody Kessler was the sharpest Saturday completing 15 of 22 for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He did not throw an interception, which continues to be the way he differentiates himself.  "I put everything that I had into it," Kessler summed up his spring. "I left basically everything I had in spring.  Hopefully, [I] showed all the hard work that I put in the offseason, hopefully, it showed this spring."
  • On the other hand, Max Wittek threw a pair of picks to Demetrius Wright, but he bounced back to make big plays with TD passes of 29 and 30 yards to Victor Blackwell and Marqise Lee respectively.   "Obviously, you have two interceptions and that's not ideal," said Wittek, who explained that the first one was a forced ball on 4th down and the second was a tipped pass. Overall, he is proud of his spring.  "I think I've played well.  I've put a good resume on film and look forward to seeing what happens."
  • True freshman Max Browne has made great strides over the course of 15 practices, and finished with a solid game completing 7/11 for 80 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  His highlight play was a 44-yard TD strike to Nelson Agholor.  "Day one, the biggest thing for me was just kind of getting the snap," said Browne looking at his spring growth.  "Now day 15, I'm actually able to go out there and play quarterback and feel more comfortable. It's been a big improvement for me."
  • The offense has hit another gear in the last week since the return of Marqise Lee, who had 8 catches for 148 yards and 3 TDs. Paired with Nelson Agholor, who had 7 receptions for 116 yards and 2 TDs, the combination mirrors that of Lee and Robert Woods.  "Me and Nelson is basically the new me and Rob," said Lee about his running mate.  "Nelson understands the game as well as I do, so therefore, we always try to communicate and keep each other on track."
  • Even more imposing for defenses, the duo turned into a trio today with Victor Blackwell pacing all receivers with 7 catches for 155 yards and 1 TD.  "What normally is the two receivers making the big plays in Marqise and Nelson went to three today with Victor making plays.  All three went over 100 yards...really excited about that," said Kiffin.
  • The Trojans had no real running game today. Without the ability to break tackles, running backs are hard to judge, but the defense never gave the backs an opportunity to spring one untouched.  Tre Madden led the way with 8 carries for 23 yards, but Justin Davis and Buck Allen combined for only 14 yards on 11 rushes.
  • Typical of this spring, the defensive front seven provided great pressure, but the secondary leaked big plays over the top.  Clancy Pendergast's 5-2 defense created 12 sacks led by Morgan Breslin (3) and Kenny Bigelow (2).  Kiffin described Bigelow as "really improved" over the course of 15 practices.  "Kenny started slow like what everyone should when they get here, but really over the last week has played really well."
  • While the defensive backs gave up a lot of yardage, S Demetrius Wright stepped up with a pair of interceptions, and CB Ryan Henderson grabbed a pick as well.  Wright was dropped to the second team defense today after playing with the ones throughout spring, but he responded to the coach's challenge.  "Coach Kiff always has something under his sleeve," said Wright about the motivational tactic.  "I've got to come out and show this guy I can play.  I believe I did today."
  • Leonard Williams led the way with 6 tackles, while Josh Shaw, Kevon Seymour and J.R. Tavai each had 5.  Pendergast has been impressed by Shaw and his position flexibility, "He is one of those smart, tough, competitive players.  Those are the kind of guys you want in your top 11."
  • The players and coaches signed autographs after the scrimmage.  (Kiffin and Lee in matching white visors pictured.)
  • Here is Lane Kiffin wrapping up the Spring Game and spring football as a whole...

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