Spring Practice Day 7
Quarterbacks: Freshman QB Matt Barkley had his best performance of the spring on Thursday, completing almost every pass during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Barkley threw 3 TD passes, one to WR Damian Williams, one to WR Jordan Cameron and one to WR Travon Patterson. QB Mitch Mustain worked with the first team offense on Thursday but didn’t have an opportunity to throw the ball down the field. Mustain told reporters he feels that he is still in the race for the starting QB spot. But many reporters feel that Aaron Corp has pulled into a solid lead. With Barkley charging fast, Mustain will have to make some big plays, while not turning the ball over, over the next two weeks to have a chance. O.C. Register reporter Michael Lev reports that Mustain may have the edge over Corp and Barkley in leadership intangibles. According to Lev, Mustain appears to have assumed the role previously filled by Mark Sanchez of being the vocal encourager to the offense on and off the field. The funny thing is that I’ve seen plenty of Mustain (Springdale H.S., Arkansas and USC) and Barkley (Mater Dei H.S.) but I’ve only seen Aaron Corp throw the ball four times (twice at Virginia and twice at Ohio State). I never saw any footage of Corp playing high school football at Orange Lutheran.
Running Backs: RB Joe McKnight (dislocated toes) fielded punts and participated in some individual drills on Thursday. Even though he didn’t participate in scrimmages, his trash talking to the defense was loud enough to catch the attention of O.C. Register reporter Damian Calhoun.
Receivers: L.A. Daily News reporter Scott Wolf says that David Ausberry is the #3 WR and Brice Butler is the #4 WR. Travon Patterson and Jordan Cameron are the #5 and #6 WRs ahead of Brandon Carswell.
Offensive Line: Sophomore Tyron Smith may have wrapped up the starting RT spot with his performance this spring. Smith has played so well that Butch Lewis, who started 7 games at RT in 2008, has been moved to RG. The starting O-Line this fall will likely be LT Charles Brown, LG Jeff Byers, C Kris O’Dowd, RG Butch Lewis and RT Tyron Smith. The primary back-ups will be OT Nick Howell, OG Zack Heberer and OG Alex Parsons. Howell has missed several practices with a sore hamstring and Parsons has a cast on his injured hand. I haven’t heard much on the highly touted OT Matt Kalil this spring. OG Khaled Holmes and OG Martin Coleman are also trying to break into the rotation.
Linebackers: LB Luthur Brown (shoulder strain) will likely miss the rest of spring practice. Brown, a fifth year senior, has been plagued by injuries throughout his collegiate career. If Brown can’t play in 2009, and there is no indication that he’ll be able to stay healthy, the already thin LB corps can’t afford any more injuries. Michael Morgan, Chris Galippo and Malcolm Smith are solidly entrenched as the starting LBs but Galippo has also had the injury bug through the early stages of his USC career. The second team LBs will be Unoa Kavienga, Jordan Campbell and possibly Nick Garratt. The incoming freshmen LBs (Jarvis Jones, Frankie Telfort and Marquis Simmons) will have a good chance to play early in 2009!
The Trojans scrimmage at the Coliseum at 11:30am (PST) on Saturday April 11th.