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USC FOOTBALL REPORT

Bush Is Star of Scrimmage at Coliseum

March 29, 2004|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

As USC reached the halfway point of spring practice Sunday, sophomore running back Reggie Bush appeared to be in midseason form.

Bush was the standout performer during a 71-play scrimmage at the Coliseum before a crowd of onlookers that included several busloads of high school juniors and their families.

Bush, who sat out Friday's workout because of groin soreness, turned a short pass from quarterback Matt Leinart into a 60-yard touchdown, scored on a 14-yard run and proved elusive on punt and kick returns. He is looking forward to Saturday's annual spring game at the Coliseum, which last year drew an estimated crowd of 5,000.

"You just want to go out there and put on a show for the crowd," Bush said.

Bush filled a number of roles for the Trojans last season. He rushed for 521 yards and three touchdowns in 90 carries, and caught 15 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns. Bush averaged 27.3 yards for 18 kickoff returns -- one of which he returned for a touchdown -- and also returned two punts.

"We'll just try to keep increasing the amount of little things he can do within those roles," Coach Pete Carroll said. "It's nothing he can't handle. We just have to get real good at the things we're adding to the offense."

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Tight end Alex Holmes caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback John David Booty and receiver Greig Carlson scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman walk-on Michael McDonald.

Leinart completed four of nine passes for 118 yards, Booty was nine for 14 for 74 yards, McDonald five for six for 59 yards. Senior Brandon Hance was 0 for 2.

Senior Shaun Cody recorded three sacks while playing defensive end, but Carroll said he remained pleased with the offensive line, which will feature four new starters.

"That's an area of great concern and they're making great progress," Carroll said.

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Receiver Whitney Lewis did not participate because of a dislocated finger suffered Friday. Running back LenDale White and defensive lineman Van Brown were among others who did not participate because of nagging injuries.

The Trojans got a scare when sophomore center Ryan Kalil went down on one of the first plays. Kalil was hit in the shoulder or neck area, stayed immobilized for several minutes, but got to his feet and later returned.

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Offensive tackle Winston Justice is scheduled to be arraigned today in Los Angeles Superior Court. The Los Angeles city attorney's office last week filed misdemeanor charges against Justice for three counts of exhibition of a replica firearm. Justice is suspended from USC and ineligible for spring practice. ... Billy Hart, a redshirt junior quarterback, is not participating in spring practice so he can concentrate on baseball. Hart went three for 10 and drove in a run as the Trojans won two of three games against UCLA over the weekend. Hart is playing third base and is batting .306 in 49 at-bats for the 12-14 Trojans. Matt Cassel, who was moved from quarterback to tight end last fall, is playing baseball at USC for the first time. He is 0-1 with 10.50 earned-run average in six innings in six appearances.

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