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The Scouting Report

No. 8 USC (0-0) at No. 6 AUBURN (0-0)

August 30, 2003

Today, 3 p.m., Jordan-Hare Stadium

TV -- Channel 2. Radio -- KMPC (1540)


Redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt Leinart, sophomore tailback Hershel Dennis and junior fullback Lee Webb are starting for the first time. Leinart will try to get the ball into the hands of veteran receivers Keary Colbert and Mike Williams. Freshman receiver Steve Smith and sophomore tight end Dominique Byrd also could play big roles. Freshmen Reggie Bush, LenDale White and Chauncey Washington back up Dennis. Right guard Fred Matua is the only new starter for an offensive line that had limited time together during training camp because of injuries. Auburn's defense features eight returning starters, among them heralded senior linebackers Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas.


Running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who rushed for 97 yards in the first half against USC last season, Ronnie Brown, Tre Smith and Brandon Jacobs give Auburn one of the nation's deepest backfields. Quarterback Jason Campbell was 5-1 as a starter last season. He completed 63% of his passes for 1,215 yards and 11 touchdowns with five interceptions. Auburn might operate out of a no-huddle offense at times. USC middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, a transfer from Maine, is the only new starter in a Trojan front seven that is regarded as one of the nation's best. Freshman strong safety Darnell Bing is the only starter in the secondary with no starting experience.


1. Quarterback efficiency: Leinart, who has never thrown a pass in a college game, must play under control and avoid mistakes. The Trojans can take pressure off Leinart by establishing their running game.

2. Crash the Cadillac: The Trojans must shut down Williams and other Tiger running backs. Last year, Williams ran through the Trojans during the first half.

3. Weather the conditions: Auburn is accustomed to, and welcomes, the heat and humidity. More than 86,000 Tiger fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium will also turn up the heat.


*--* USC (2002 Stats) AUB 35.8 Scoring 29.8 18.5 Points Allowed 17.8 306.8 Passing Offense 183.8 142.5 Rushing Offense 203.7 449.2 Total offense 387.5 201.8 Passing Defense 186.5 83.2 Rushing Defense 141.7 284.9 Total Defense 328.2


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