LOS ANGELES — Words such as “struggled” and “humbled” were thrown around to describe the USC offense last Sunday in preseason game number two.
The offense turned the ball over five times last week at the Coliseum.
On Saturday as the Trojans went through a mock game at Howard Jones Field, head coach Lane Kiffin was much more complimentary of his offensive unit.
“I’m very pleased with how it went. I’m very pleased with how the skill guys on offense clicked together. I think they were really in sync,” Kiffin said. “It was very productive.”
During the game, the Trojans wore game uniforms, with the offense in Cardinal tops and the defense in white. They didn’t go up against each other, but instead against the scout team, who provided Hawaii looks for the team.
“The ‘Hawaii’ team came out and played hard. Those guys did their best to give us a good look,” said Matt Barkley who completed eight of 12 passes for 140 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. “We were rolling. (The) offense looked good, both the run and the passing game, so I thought it was good (in the) last day of camp before we really get going.”
One of Barkley’s touchdown passes went to Robert Woods. The junior receiver finished with four receptions and a team-high 116 yards. Marqise Lee had four receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown.
It was a culmination of a good week for the offense after not being on point last Sunday at the Coliseum. The offense was poised to bounce back from that five-turnover performance.
“We need to (bounce back) and we kept emphasizing that,” Barkley said. “We can’t let that define us.”
Saturday was treated like a game day. On Friday night the team stayed in a local hotel and went through team meetings just as they would in preparation for a real game.
The Trojans have spent most of camp with the first team offense lining up against the first team defense etc., but Kiffin really wanted to stress a game day environment with players substituting in and out of the ball game as well as incorporating special teams.
“The formats before were offense and defense on different sidelines, so you can’t get a feel for the special teams and the way the game goes and the communication so it was very needed,” Kiffin said. “It was very successful.”
With fall camp officially wrapped up on Saturday, Kiffin says the time is now for the Trojans as they prepare for their season opener against Hawaii next Saturday.
“It’s time to go. This is real ball now,” Kiffin said. “The college football season for us starts tomorrow.”
USC announced Barkley, safety T.J. McDonald, center Khaled Holmes, and cornerback Nickell Robey will be team captains for the 2012 season. With the nomination, Barkley becomes the first three-time captain in USC history.