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USC FOOTBALL FYI:

It's tough to get a read on the Trojans

In a mock game without tackling, running game is a mystery. Matt Barkley throws for three touchdowns but has two passes intercepted.

August 26, 2010|By Gary Klein
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

After USC finished its mock game at the Coliseum on Thursday, quarterback Matt Barkley said the Trojans had come a long way.

Just how far was unclear.

Again playing what amounted to touch football in an effort to avoid injuries, the first-team offense and defense did not overpower the scout team.

The running game remains a mystery, and Coach Lane Kiffin won't know if his defense can tackle until the Trojans play next Thursday at Hawaii.

The passing game also is far from sharp.

Barkley passed for three touchdowns, but he had two passes intercepted, one that walk-on linebacker Will Andrew returned 25 yards for a touchdown. It was the second consecutive scrimmage that a Barkley interception was returned for a touchdown.

"I would have expected it to be more lopsided than it was," Kiffin said after watching the first team outscore the scout team, 30-7. "So it's apparent, as we all know, that we have a lot of work to do."

Barkley's interceptions came on passes intended for freshmen receivers Robert Woods and Markeith Ambles, the sophomore quarterback saying he would continue working with the younger players to make sure they know their assignments.

Barkley, who completed 15 of 24 passes, said the no-contact tempo "kind of stinks" because it affects the energy on the field.

"It almost lowers the speed of the receivers in a sense and so everything is not completely accurate," he said. "But come a week from today there's no doubt that we'll be flying around."

Trophy stripped

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden announced that USC was in the process of returning the 2004 Grantland Rice Trophy, which was stripped by the Football Writers Assn. of America because of sanctions imposed against USC. This is the first time a school has had to vacate the championship.

"Our central priority at this time is our overall commitment to compliance and this action is in line with the standards we have set for our entire athletic program," Haden said in a statement.

He hooked 'em

Haden also nnounced that USC would play a home-and-home series with Texas in 2017 and 2018 and also play Utah State in 2013.

USC will play the Longhorns at the Coliseum on Sept. 16, 2017, and at Austin on Sept. 15, 2018.

"I hope I'm here, but I'm not really worried about the schedule seven years from now," Kiffin said. "We're worried about a game seven days from now."

The game against Utah State will be played at the Coliseum on Sept. 21, 2013.

Quick hits

Freshman quarterback Jesse Scroggins was certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center and will return to practice Saturday. The Trojans do not practice today. Scroggins could not attend practice for a week while awaiting certification. Freshman safety Demetrius Wright is still awaiting certification. … Jordan Cameron, Brice Butler and Woods caught touchdown passes. Marc Tyler ran for a two-yard touchdown….Scout team quarterback John Manoogian completed 12 of 21 passes for 104 yards. Dillon Baxter had six receptions for 70 yards.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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