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Webster Stands Out in USC's Final Scrimmage

April 18, 1987|MAL FLORENCE | Times Staff Writer

If USC were to open the football season next week, it's apparent that Steve Webster would be the starting tailback.

He was impressive Friday with his quick, darting runs while leading the Gold team to a 28-14 victory over the Cardinal team in the final intrasquad scrimmage of spring practice at Howard Jones Field.

Webster, 5 feet 10 inches and 180 pounds, gained 92 yards in 16 carries and scored 3 touchdowns on runs of 23, 1 and 3 yards. His longest run, though, was 26 yards.

An ankle injury has hampered Webster, who had played in only one of USC's last 21 games. But he said that his right ankle hasn't bothered him this spring.

"If I can stay healthy, I'll be able to take the starting job," Webster said.

His competition comes from the more experienced Ryan Knight and Aaron Emanuel. But Knight, playing for the Cardinals, was able to gain only 5 yards in 6 carries. Emanuel, also with the Cardinals, gained 16 yards in 7 carries.

The teams were divided after eight seniors conducted their own version of a draft.

"The Whites (Golds) had more speed and skill, while the Cards had more size," USC Coach Larry Smith said. "Skill usually wins out."

With Rodney Peete on the baseball team, Kevin McLain is the No. 1 quarterback now. He was on the Gold team and he completed 11 of 17 passes for 170 yards. He was 9 for 9 in the second half.

McLain threw a 25-yard scoring pass to wide receiver John Jackson.

The Cardinals scored on Knight's surprise 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gary Wellman and Knight's 1-yard run.

Pat O'Hara, a redshirt freshman quarterback, completed 8 of 15 passes for 109 yards for the Cardinals.

Jackson was the leading receiver with 7 catches for 105 yards.

Defensive standouts for the Golds were tackle Alex Stewart, a transfer from Fresno City College, and veteran linebacker Marcus Cotton.

Stewart, 6-5 and 260, made 9 tackles, 4 for losses and forced a fumble. Cotton had 7 tackles, including 3 quarterback sacks.

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