Leinart, Grootegoed Shine In USC's First Spring Football Scrimmage Of 2004
March 12, 2004
LOS ANGELES - All-American quarterback Matt Leinart completed 10-of-14 passes for 132 yards and linebacker Matt Grootegoed returned a blocked field goal 68 yards for a touchdown to highlight a 45-play intrasquad scrimmage as the defending national champion USC football team concluded its first week of spring practice.
The Trojans, who end spring drills on April 10, are now off until March 25 because of spring break week followed by a trip to the White House on March 23 to be honored by President Bush.
Grootegoed, who also recovered a fumble earlier in the scrimmage and was headed for a TD before several defensive players jumped off the sideline to stop him, keyed a defense that yielded -16 yards rushing. Cornerbacks Eric Wright and Terrell Thomas, safety Darnell Bing and linebacker Thomas Williams each had 4 tackles. Justin Wyatt intercepted a pass, while cornerback Eric Wright and linebacker Marco Chavez both recovered fumbles.
Wide receivers Jason Mitchell (5 catches, 60 yards) and Whitney Lewis (4 catches, 66 yards) were the top pass catchers. Quarterback John David Booty hit 3-of-5 passes for 51 yards, but threw an interception, while Brandon Hance was 2-of-3 for 12 yards.
'We've had a great first week,' said USC head coach Pete Carroll. 'We've battled hard. Right now, it's just about working hard and competing.
'Today, our offense had some uncharacteristic things happen, putting the ball on the ground a lot and having a field goal blocked. And we had a tough time running the ball. We know it'll be a process with our offensive line. They're new and learning, so it'll take a while. You can tell that the defensive front is ahead right now. But our goal is to have the lines even up by the end of spring practice.
'The defense did some good things in the scrimmage. They made a number of big stops at the goal line. And then they won it with the blocked field goal.'