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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

USC Scrimmage Is a Big Draw

April 04, 2004|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC officials estimated that 10,000 fans attended Saturday's annual Trojan Huddle scrimmage at the Coliseum.

It seemed to be an even larger crowd to junior quarterback Matt Leinart and other Trojan players and coaches as they signed autographs and posed for photographs afterward on the field.

"This is harder than waiting [in the pocket] with big guys coming at you," a smiling Leinart said amid the crush.

There were no signature moments, but a few individuals and position groups produced significant performances during the 103-play scrimmage. The first-team offense went against the first-team defense on alternating possessions in the first half. The first-teams went against reserves in the second half.

"We made real solid progress in general, so I'm real pleased about it," Coach Pete Carroll said.

Much of the focus going into the scrimmage centered on the Trojans' young offensive line, which could feature four new starters in the fall. The unit responded by helping sophomore running back LenDale White rush for 96 yards and a touchdown in 11 carries. Junior Hershel Dennis rushed for 91 yards in 10 carries and scored on a 25-yard run during an overtime drill.

Pass protection, however, was spotty. Though defenders were not allowed to tackle quarterbacks, they were credited with eight sacks.

"We did a good job establishing the run, but we gave up too many sacks," said tackle Kyle Williams, a redshirt sophomore.

Offensive line coach Tim Davis said the unit was a work in progress.

"We have to learn to be a little more consistent at the end -- to finish," Davis said. "Older guys like the ones we had last year understand it ain't over till it's over. This group is young. So now it's, 'Let's take the next step.' "

Leinart completed 10 of 20 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Sophomore wide receiver Whitney Lewis caught seven passes for 122 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown.

Lawrence Jackson, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman, recorded eight tackles, including two sacks, and also recovered a fumbled punt by Reggie Bush.

*

USC concludes spring practice this week.... Sophomore wide receiver Steve Smith caught three passes for 50 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass.... Ryan Killeen and Mario Danelo kicked field goals of 46 and 43 yards, respectively.... Sophomore quarterback John David Booty completed eight of 14 passes for 119 yards, Brandon Hance was two of six for 28 yards and Michael McDonald two of three for 13 yards.

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