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Relieved Trojans get through spring game unscathed

USC v Oregon Getty Images

Thanks to injuries of varying degrees of severity and personnel limitations wrought by NCAA sanctions, USC’s main mission heading into Saturday was seemingly getting out of the spring game relatively unscathed health-wise.

If that was indeed the Trojans’ mission, consider it accomplished.

With a no-tackling mandate in full effect, the Trojans’ defense came out with a 34-27 decision over the offense in front of 15,000 fans.  As explained by the team’s official website, the scoring system in part involved the defense being awarded 3 points for defensive stops of drives and 5 points for turnovers in the 91-play game.

In the end, however, the only thing that mattered was the fact that the Trojans emerged from the annual game healthy, with the added bonus of continuing the progression that’s been ongoing since the sessions began last month.  Or, as the Los Angeles Times put it…

“Kiffin was simply relieved that his team emerged without another season-ending injury.”

Statistically, and for what it’s worth, quarterback Matt Barkley (duh) led the Trojans’ offensive attack, throwing 212 yards on 22 completions and one touchdown.  Continuing a something-to-watch-for trend this spring, however, the senior signal caller tossed another interception.  D.J. Morgan, the presumptive favorite to start at running back — especially with the season-ending injury suffered by linebacker-turned-tailback Tre Madden – ran for 56 yards on six carries, with 47 of those yards coming on a touchdown run.

In addition to the yards he was expected to pile up in a meaningless exhibition game, Barkley may have also put himself in the running for a quote-of-the-year award.  No, actually, he did put himself squarely in that mix.

“All that stuff is just such bogusness.”

The 2012 Heisman Trophy front-runner — yes, he is, so stop the whining before it even starts — was referring to the preseason love the Trojans have already garnered, love that will likely translate into, at bare minimum, a Top Two preseason ranking when the polls come out in early August.  Bogusness or not, and regardless of how much the program from Kiffin to Barkley and all points in between attempts to downplay it, lofty preseason rankings are exactly the position in which the Men of Troy will find themselves come August.

If they remain healthy?  There’s no reason the Trojans can’t live up to the lofty preseason expectations.  Regardless of how much it’s downplayed in the spring.

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15 Responses to “Relieved Trojans get through spring game unscathed”
  1. 1trojanlove says: Apr 15, 2012 7:17 AM

    Fight On Trojans! Let’s show that our 75 is better than there 85….

  2. thegamecocker says: Apr 15, 2012 8:35 AM

    Always loved the USC Trojans from the time I was a little boy. Student Body Left and Student Body Right. Everytime they take the field, the opposition feels if they win THAT game, their season is a success. It’s the way I feel when South Carolina plays Clemson; if the Fighting Gamecocks win that GAME, the season is a success.

  3. omniusprime says: Apr 15, 2012 9:03 AM

    It’s looking great for USC for the fall football season and it will be a joy to see USC get into a national championship game instead of those pathetic SEC teams. About time for a real national championship game instead of an SEC rivalry contest. Time for some real playoff action instead of the BCS bogusness!

  4. thegamecocker says: Apr 15, 2012 10:29 AM

    Let’s not get carried away now. The SEC is the finest conference in the country: Football, Basketball, and Baseball. Those numbers don’t lie. The Trojans lost a few games last season to teams they should have beaten. They could not beat either LSU or the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide last season. Your defense was most suspect despite all those Parade All-Americans. I like USC but they still need to prove it on the field. Don’t make silly comments though about the SEC because you look foolish doing so. That is just not right and I don’t want you to embarrass yourself.

  5. uscatjerseyshore says: Apr 15, 2012 1:56 PM

    Suggesting others shouldn’t get carried away Gamecocker’s assertion that “by the numbers” the SEC conference is the finest conference in the country across the board is suspect.

    Perhaps by average that might be the case (although I can’t see how one can “average” three different sports). Currently in baseball the PAC-12 is number one, and SEC is number 2. In basketball the SEC ranks 4 0r 5, following the Big East, the Big 10, the Big 12 and potentially the ACC. And while the best SEC teams have shown definite strength in football, there is statistical analysis puts the SEC below the Big 12 and just ahead of the Big 10 and Pac-12 (in that order).

    As far as saying USC could not have beaten either LSU or Alabama last season one will never know. However even with a short squad (thanks to making adjustments to deal with the forthcoming NCAA imposed recruiting reduction sanctions), it would be hard to believe that either LSU or Alabama would have limited USC to a single TD scored in “mop-up” minutes.

    As far as the USC secondary being suspect, that group demonstrated continual improvement over the duration of the season. With the implementation of the Tampa-2 and the starters consisting mainly of Freshman and Sophomores the 2012 team (with the return of 9 defensive starters) promises to be at another level from what was seen early during 2011.

    To use your own words, performance needs to be proved on the field so you shouldn’t make “silly” predictions on the results of a game or games that never occurred.

  6. duckfootballrules says: Apr 15, 2012 2:21 PM

    ‘Men of Troy’ should be ‘Trojan Man” because these guys are —-! Barkley is such an arrogant punk. I am so glad that the pundits have decided to crown these clowns as a National title contender because it is going to make it all the sweeter when the Oregon Ducks march into that relic stadium and wax their behinds on Nov. 3rd. Unfortunately they will probably have already lost by then. Wake up America…the PAC12 belongs to the Oregon Ducks!

  7. papabush88 says: Apr 15, 2012 2:50 PM

    Duckfootballrules: 4 years of relevance (all of which coming from the Willie Lyles scandal) and you’re talking smack to USC? Not classy. And you’re calling Barkley a punk? Barkley is going to Haiti to do volunteer work. He’s already already been to Africa to help out at orphanages among many other charitable deeds. And he does all of this without shoving religion down people’s throats. He let’s his actions speak. He does, however, thank God and his team for his success. A punk would take all of the credit. The only punk at USC that I can think of is Reggie Bush. And to be honest, I didn’t care that he took money from that ex con not affiliated with USC. It didn’t give USC an unfair advantage. And as the NCAA concluded, no one else at USC knew. Not Pete Carroll. Not Mike Garrett. The illegal payments made to Willie Lyles did however give Oregon somewhat of an unfair advantage over other teams. And of course Chip Kelly tried to cover it up. That’s really bad. But I’m not hoping for Oregon to get in trouble. The NCAA sucks anyway. But don’t call Barkley a punk and careful of stepping on USC. That’s the last team you should be pissing off. We ARE college football. And, unlike Oregon, we rise to the occasion in big games. Bring on the SEC.

  8. thegamecocker says: Apr 15, 2012 3:52 PM

    @papabush88

    Great post!

    USC@jerseyshore

    The results occur AFTER the season…not DURING the season. Don’t get me wrong. USC is COLLEGE FOOTBALL but so is the SEC. ‘Bama’s defense last season could have probably held the Tampa Bay Bucs to a TD. Perhaps you missed what they did to a 13-0 LSU team in New Orleans no less: 21-0. I’m not having at USC for predicting they would lose to Alabama; I’m just stating what I think the pundits in Atlantic City and Vegas would predict. Let me conclude by saying:
    FIGHT ON TROJANS!!! Beat ND!

  9. papabush88 says: Apr 15, 2012 4:06 PM

    Absolutely, gamecocker. I’m not saying that USC is college football and no one else is. SEC is too. Well, at least a few teams are. But I do think USC is a team that can without a doubt beat the vest of the SEC. They’ve been there before and done it. I respect the SEC and even Oregon, but Oregon needs to be more clutch. I also think Oregon was a much better team when USC played them than when LSU played them. It just bothers me when fans like duckfootballrules don’t respect their elders, i.e. USC and SEC.

  10. pdcooper08 says: Apr 15, 2012 4:14 PM

    duckfootballrules- How about we just quiet our mouths and just lets the boys play on the field. You have a lot of replacing to do at very crucial positions this coming season. Nothing will be easy. You win the Pac-12 this year, you can run your mouth then.

    And you really believe your coming into our house to wax that ass? Just like last year, right!

  11. thegamecocker says: Apr 15, 2012 4:45 PM

    @papabush88

    You da man, baabbbyyyy!!! Long live the SEC! I think Arkansas should hold off hiring a new coach until after next season. What do you think?

  12. papabush88 says: Apr 15, 2012 5:56 PM

    Gamecocker: Well, they certainly shouldn’t just hire some average Joe as head coach with a nice contract. I’d be jealous if they got Gruden. He’s one of my all time favorites. Arkansas may be doing this already, but I think they should just hand over reins to whomever was supposed to be in place to take over for Bobby. Like one of the assistant coaches that could best serve as a substitute to Petrino.

  13. uscatjerseyshore says: Apr 15, 2012 11:04 PM

    Gamecocker – since your posts are generally even handed it was surprising to see your comment on USC “They could not beat either LSU or the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide last season”. I agree that both Alabama and LSU would have been favored to beat USC the same way that Oregon was favored to beat USC by 14 or 15 points this past year.

    Which leads me to the idiotic comments from duckfootballdrools. USC beat your team last year in your stadium. A game which USC led from start to finish. I agree that the LA Memorial Coliseum is a “relic” which by definition means “An object surviving from an earlier time, having historical or sentimental interest”. As the stadium is an instantly recognizable National Historic Landmark, the site of two Olympics, a Superbowl and the largest football stadium in the PAC-12 conference built as a memorial to World War I veterans can it really be compared to Autzen Stadium which happens to have been built on a dump? Additionally your comments that Oregon owns the PAC-12 are quite amusing considering that the Oregon sports program is owned by Nike and Phil Knight. Assuming that the NCAA doesn’t strip away one or more years of recent season results from the currently ongoing recruiting investigations congratulations on 2009, 2010 and 2011. If you win the conference title for the next 33 years you’ll catch up with USC.

  14. microbrewuga says: Apr 16, 2012 8:33 AM

    I’m sitting here laughing as I read these posts. It only took about 3 posts before a PAC 12 story got turned around to a SEC blog. My wife can do the same thing. I can be talking about motorcycles, oil changes, cigars, etc. and before you know it, I’m discussing flowers, quilt shows, and how lovely so and so looked at her bridal shower.

  15. thegamecocker says: Apr 16, 2012 9:17 AM

    @microbrewuga

    Your Wife is a brilliant person! She was tired of hearing you talk about motorcycles (unless you were referring to Bobby Patrino and that whole scuttlebutt) and so she switched gears on you and went somewhere else with it. This is the tactic I used here: I said my piece on the USC Trojans, gave them the proper respect they so richly deserved, and went back to the SEC. I thought it was clever and who the Razorbacks select as their next head coach and WHEN is more interesting than listening to two PAC 12 guys fight over whose team is better. But with all due respect to my Oregon brethren and what they have achieved over the past 4 or 5 seasons, SOUTHERN CAL is the real deal! They even draw better than than the Rams or Raiders did when they were in LA-LA Land. I like the Duck style: but SOUTHERN CAL is SOUTHERN CAL!!

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