A number of USC’s marquee players played little in Thursday’s mock game at the Coliseum. Most importantly for the Trojans, nobody was hurt and everything seemed to go smoothly. Despite some setbacks earlier this month, Coach Pete Carroll said, "I don’t think we’ve ever been this healthy at this time of year."
The headline injury in training camp was a dislocated kneecap suffered two weeks ago by starting quarterback Mark Sanchez. After seeing him throw in 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills, Carroll was pleased with Sanchez’s progress and said that he could be practicing at full speed in the next couple of days. That would allow Sanchez, who watched the mock game from the sideline, to participate in game-week preparations.
Asked about his other quarterbacks, Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp, Carroll wasn’t saying much without watching the film. "There were no major breakdowns in communication … we made it through, I think this was just another day for those guys growing."
Sophomore tailback Joe McKnight appeared fine despite dealing with a series of random and presumably painful injuries over the last couple of weeks.
There was some concern over how sharp USC looked on the lines, with a few penalties and turnovers sprinkled in. More coverage after the jump.
Photo: Mark Sanchez (6) flanked by Mitch Mustain (16) and Aaron Corp (15). Credit: Lori Shepler / LA Times.
- Full scrimmage recap from Gary Klein.
- Details on a surprising camp for Garrett Green and other updates from David Wharton.
- Scrimmage stat report (PDF file) from USC.
Click play to listen to Pete Carroll’s press gaggle held immediately after the scrimmage:
Media release from USC Sports Information:
WHITE TEAM DEFEATS CARDINAL TEAM, 28-7, IN USC FOOTBALL INTRASQUAD SCRIMMAGE
LOS ANGELES–The White team, comprised mainly of first and second teamers, defeated the Cardinal (reserves) team, 28-7, in the USC football team’s final intrasquad scrimmage of fall camp in front of 8,000 fans in the Coliseum on Thursday (Aug. 21).
The White team scored a touchdown in each quarter. After defensive end Kyle Moore deflected a first quarter pass by Cardinal team quarterback Garrett Green, fellow end Everson Griffen intercepted it in the end zone for a score. But the Cardinal team responded on its following possession, capping a 74-yard drive with Green’s 12-yard TD pass to wide receiver Brice Butler.
Late in the first half, tailback Joe McKnight scored on a 6-yard run that culminated a 69-yard drive for the White squad.
The White team scored on its first possession of the second half on an 88-yard drive. Quarterback Aaron Corp hit tight end Blake Ayles on a 12-yard pass, but Ayles fumbled the ball into the end zone and offensive guard Zack Heberer fell on it for a touchdown.
Quarterback Mitch Mustain hit fullback Adam Goodman for a 2-yard TD on the White team’s final possession of the game to finish the scoring.
Corp (8-of-10 passing for 85 yards) and Mustain (10-of-14 for 92 yards) split time in the scrimmage. Mark Sanchez, who entered fall camp as the starting quarterback before dislocating his kneecap on Aug. 8, participated in pre-game drills and could return to practice fulltime next week.
McKnight ran for 32 yards on 3 carries and had 34 more yards on 3 punt returns. Tailback Allen Bradford added 39 yards on 6 rushes. Wide receiver Vidal Hazelton had 5 receptions for 44 yards, while Ayles had 3 for 55 yards.
For the Cardinal team, Green was 10-of-19 passing for 134 yards, but was intercepted twice. Wide receivers Jordan Cameron (81 yards), D.J. Shoemate (36 yards) and Butler (19 yards) each had 3 catches. Shoemate added 63 yards on 3 kickoff returns.
The Cardinal defense was led by safety Drew McAllister’s 8 tackles and linebacker Jordan Campbell’s 5 stops.
Garratt topped the White squad with 3 tackles, while safety Taylor Mays had 3 deflections.
Six-time defending Pac-10 champion USC opens its season on Aug. 30 at Virginia.
Photos: Pete Carroll (above) and Garrett Green (14). Credit: Lori Shepler / LA Times.