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Spring game: In-progress notebook

4/14/2012

WeAreSC's Erik McKinney is at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and will be providing updates throughout today's USC Trojans spring football game:

12:46 p.m. PT: The gates are open

Weather might be affecting spring games across the country, but Friday's downpour has broken and the sun is shining on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for USC's spring game. The gates are open, and the south stands are filling with cardinal-and-gold-clad fans.

Special teams players, including last year's heroes -- kicker Andre Heidari and punter Kyle Negrete -- are warming up on the field.

Lane Kiffin and staff are going to make this a big day for recruits, as quarterback Max Browne, the most recent addition to USC's class of 2013, is in attendance.

1:06 p.m. PT: Trojans take the field

The Trojans are out on the field in full uniform -- minus the helmet decal -- with the defense wearing the road whites and offense in the home reds. The Song Girls and Spirit of Troy just made their way out onto the field.

The injury report looks to be consistent with Thursday's practice. Cornerback Ryan Henderson and Torin Harris are out. Defensive linemen Christian Heyward and DeVante Wilson will be sitting out as well.

And for the first time this afternoon, the USC marching band is making some noise.

1:28 p.m. PT: Putting on a show

USC's warm-ups come to a close, as Marqise Lee catches the deep pass. You can tell it's still spring ball, however, as Lee and fellow wide receiver De'Von Flournoy attempt an alley-oop on the goal post. It's a routine that obviously still needs some work, as the pass sails high. Finally, something Lee tried this spring that didn't go perfectly.

Recruits spotted so far include incoming 2012 signees wide receiver Nelson Agholor, tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and linebacker Jabari Ruffin, along with class of 2013 commitments Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline). Also spotted among the 2012 signees: Offensive lineman Jordan Simmons, fullback Jahleel Pinner and safety Gerald Bowman.

Also in attendance, defensive end Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley), safety Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo), offensive guard Khaliel Rodgers (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), and 2015 USC verbal commit quarterback David Sills (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy).

1:44 p.m. PT: We are under way

After a defensive stop by the first unit, D.J. Morgan opens the scoring for the second team with a 47-yard scamper. It's a good cap to the spring for Morgan, who plugged along as tailbacks Tre Madden and Buck Allen received so much attention. Score: Cardinal 7, White 3

The scoring for today's game will be six points for an offensive touchdown, one for a PAT and two for a 2-point conversion. Defensively, three points for a defensive stop, seven for a turnover and seven for a defensive touchdown.

Starting lineups:

Offense: LT Aundrey Walker, LG Marcus Martin, C Khaled Holmes, RG John Martinez, RT Kevin Graf, QB Matt Barkley, FT Soma Vainuku, TB Curtis McNeal, WR Marqise Lee, WR De'Von Flournoy, TE Xavier Grimble.

Defense: DE Devon Kennard, NT Antwaun Woods, DT George Uko, DE Wes Horton, SLB Dion Bailey, MLB Lamar Dawson, WLB Hayes Pullard, CB Nickell Robey, CB Isiah Wiley, S T.J. McDonald, S Jawanza Starling

Second teams

Offense: LT Nathan Guertler, LG Abe Markowitz, C Cyrus Hobbi, RG Jeremy Galten, RT David Garness, QB Max Wittek, FB Hunter Simmons, TB D.J. Morgan, TE Junior Pomee, WR De'Von Flournoy, WR Victor Blackwell

Defense: DE Morgan Breslin, NT J.R. Tavai, DT Zack Kusnir, DE Greg Townsend Jr., SLB Tony Burnett, MLB Scott Starr, WLB Anthony Sarao, CB Anthony Brown, CB Brian Baucham, S Drew McAllister, S Demetrius Wright

1:53 p.m. PT: Defense thwarts Barkley, Kessler, Trojans' offense

QB Matt Barkley tried to find WR Victor Blackwell in the end zone, but CB Isiah Wiley recovered and made a great play to knock it away on second down. LB Lamar Dawson added another strong play later in the drive when he turned RB Curtis McNeal around as the back looked to go in for an easy score. The offense eventually settled for an Andre Heidari field goal, to push the lead to 10-3.

Cody Kessler enters the game and finds Xavier Grimble for a big gain. Kessler then tried to find Flournoy down the sideline late, but safety Drew McAllister flew over to make the interception. The defense adds five points on the interceptions, bringing the score to 10-8.

1:59 p.m. PT: Star-studded audience

Watching the spring game from the sideline are former USC standouts Tony Boselli, Marcus Allen, Anthony Munoz, Ronnie Lott, Willie McGinest and Junior Seau.

Senior safety T.J. McDonald came of the field after one play and was met by Lott. T.J. had a big grin on his face as he said, "Nice to meet you."

2:16 p.m. PT: Wiley, defense turning it on

Cornerback Isiah Wiley is making a serious push for top defensive honors of the first half. He has done well to stick with every wide receiver, and he just knocked another deep ball away from Marqise Lee. Devon Kennard finishes off an offensive drive with a sack of Barkley. Defense opens up a 17-10 lead with 1:06 left in the first half.

2:22 p.m. PT: Offense closes the gap at halftime

Cody Kessler nearly connects with Flournoy on a 40-yard touchdown pass, but the ball sailed inches too far. Morgan Breslin with a big sack just before halftime to force a Heidari field-goal attempt, which is good from 47 yards away.

Halftime score: Defense 17, Offense 13

2:43 p.m. PT: Special halftime guest

The USC Trojans teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation today to allow a 3-year-old USC fan with a blood disorder to direct the band at halftime. As the Trojans made their way onto the field to start the second half, USC captains Matt Barkley and T.J. McDonald carried the young fan onto the field, where he planted a sword into the ground. He then ran toward punter Kyle Negrete, who played along by getting tackled.

2:46 p.m. PT: Barkley still playing

Barkley continues to play into the third quarter. The first-team offense will go against the second-team defense this quarter, after the 1s faced off against the 1s throughout the first half.

Barkley's second pass of the half is intercepted by cornerback Brian Baucham, who read a back-shoulder throw and came up with the interception. Baucham continues to impress this spring.

2:59 p.m. PT: Barkley, offense heat up vs. second team

George Farmer hauls in a couple of catches for the offense. Farmer hasn't participated in a full practice due to a hamstring issue since the first week of spring ball.

Barkley finds Lee, the offensive star of the spring, for 21 yards. Barkley then goes back to Lee, who finishes the drive with a 1-yard touchdown grab. Defense 25, Offense 20

3:05 p.m. PT: Scroggins sighting

Quarterback Jesse Scroggins enters the game. It has been a disappointing spring for Scroggins, as academic issues and a hip injury kept him off the field for almost the entirety of the spring. His first pass is a quick toss to fullback Soma Vainuku, who rumbles through walk-on cornerback Will Tober. Tober, though, came back with a big hit on fellow a walk-on, tailback Taylor Ross.

The defense forces a three-and-out and the fourth-team units hit the field, made up almost entirely of walk-ons.

3:12 p.m. PT: Defense looking to celebrate

Cornerback Will Tober with two near-interceptions on back-to-back plays. The defensive starters are desperately wanting a turnover from the defense. After each play, the starters -- McDonald, Wiley, Robey, Starling, Bailey and Pullard -- have come pouring onto the field in hopes of celebrating.

3:20 p.m. PT: Late surge not enough for offense

QB Cody Kessler hits Vainuku for a touchdown as the fourth quarter winds down, but an incompletion from Max Wittek ends the game with the defense still on top.

Final score: Defense 34, Offense 27