The Coliseum will host the Trojan Huddle tomorrow, Saturday, April 7th. This is USC's annual spring football scrimmage game, and it will help the coaching staff evaluate several players battling for several key position spots, though several players are injured and may not play. Here is breakdown of each offensive unit and what I'll looking for tomorrow. I'll post the defensive preview a little bit later on today.
The Running Game
The offense needs a running back that will separate himself from the rest of the pack. With C.J. Gable, Allen Bradford, Emmanuel Moody, and Stafon Johnson banged up, it looks like Chauncey Washington has the inside track at cracking the top of the depth chart heading into fall camp. Don't forget about Hershel Dennis, who is waiting on the NCAA to grant him a 6th year of eligibility. Dennis is confident that he will gain a 6th year, so long as he graduates this May and completes his degree in sociology. We seem to be set at FB with Stanley Havili, who's looked great all spring, but he is also battling the injury bug so we'll see if he's able to go tomorrow. Michael Coleman is likely to move to fullback, increasing the depth behind Havili. The running backs need a big day because they know that 3 talented freshmen will be arriving in the fall.
The Passing Game
John David Booty needs to find a rhythm with his new WR's as they continue to break in to the demands of Division I football. Only Fred Davis and Patrick Turner have any real game experience catching balls from Booty, and they are certain to be his go to guys this season. The coaching staff needs someone to step up and take the #2 and #3 WR spots. Vidal Hazleton, David Ausberry (pictured below), Travon Patterson, and Jamere Holland have all been battling it out this spring as Turner's complimentary WR. Carroll has already pulled Hazleton aside to offer him a little pep talk urging him to make the most of his opportunity. I'm looking forward to a big day from this guy though...
Booty is back at QB, as he'll be leading the offense with a year of playing experience now under his belt. He will be entering his 5th season at 'SC and should know the playbook inside and out, so I'm not worried about him at all. However, this will be a big day for back up QB Mark Sanchez. Scott Wolf reported that Mitch Mustain will be attending tomorrow's scrimmage, so it'll be a big opportunity to showcase his skill and supplant himself as the heir apparent to Booty.
The O-Line's biggest challenge heading into next season will be to find a center to replace last year's unquestioned team leader, Ryan Kalil. This spring the reps at center have been taken by the likes of Nick Howell, Matt Spanos, and even Jeff Byers (an all-american at Center in high school). The staff is trying to find a cohesive group and have not ruled out more changes. Last year's starting guard, Drew Radovich is now taking snaps at Right Tackle, with Byers filling in at Drew's Left Guard spot. Don't forget highly touted incoming freshman lineman Kristofer O'Dowd will join the squad this fall. He is versatile enough to play either center or guard. One thing that is certain is that LT Sam Baker will anchor the line and protect Booty's blind side. He is without a doubt the best linemen on the team and one of the best in the nation. Chilo Rachal is the returning starter at RG, and appears to have firm hold on that spot, and Radovich is currently the leader at RT, but may also stay at his old LG position. If Byers returns to his old form he will start at either LG or C, leaving Spanos, Howell, and O'Dowd competing for the final spot...
Should be an interesting game, hopefully our guys will showcase their skills and battle for those open spots. The preview of the defense will be up shortly.