Patterson stands out for USC

Times Staff Writer

Travon Patterson, USC’s smallest receiver, made perhaps the biggest impression Saturday as the Trojans went through their annual spring scrimmage at the Coliseum.

Patterson, generously listed at 5 feet 11 and 180 pounds, caught two touchdown passes and also returned a punt for a touchdown before an estimated crowd of 15,000.

“It was great to get a chance to show what I can do,” said Patterson, a speedy sophomore from Long Beach who is expected to help fill the void left by the departures of Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith.


Other young receivers also played well during the 94-play scrimmage. Sophomore Vidal Hazelton caught a touchdown pass and redshirt freshman David Ausberry had several impressive catches.

“It was a lot of fun to see these guys who’ve been waiting for their chance to kind of be in the moment and take advantage of their time to shine,” quarterback John David Booty said.

Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain, who is considering transferring to USC, was among the crowd that watched Booty complete 15 of 17 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

Sophomore Mark Sanchez was 11 for 23 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. A Garrett Green pass was also intercepted. Michael McDonald passed for two touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, while citing several positives, was not pleased about the turnovers.

“When you do things real well and all off a sudden we come to the Coliseum and you throw five interceptions, that’s not what we’ve been doing, so that part is a little disappointing,” Sarkisian said.


With four sophomore running backs out because of injuries, potential sixth-year senior Hershel Dennis and fifth-year seniors Chauncey Washington and Desmond Reed all had their moments. “It’s like a step back into yesteryear almost,” Coach Pete Carroll said. “All the young guys ... they all fell out of the competition a little bit by getting banged up and not being able to hang through the third week of spring.”

C.J. Gable (neck sprain), Allen Bradford (hip) and Emmanuel Moody (hamstring) looked on as Dennis, who missed the last two seasons because of knee surgeries, scored on a short run and turned a screen pass into a 43-yard touchdown.

“I’ve still got it,” said Dennis, who will petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility after he graduates next month.


Carroll said that Booty’s experience in 2006 put this season’s team ahead of last season’s at the same point.... Senior center Matt Spanos suffered a high ankle sprain early in the scrimmage and will miss the last four spring workouts. Junior Jeff Byers moved from left guard to center with the first unit.


The stress fracture in the right foot of UCLA tailback Chris Markey will require about four weeks of rest, Coach Karl Dorrell said.

“It was as we expected,” Dorrell said after hearing the results of an MRI exam. “It’s not going to require any surgery. He just needs to rest and wear a boot.”


Quarterback Ben Olson suffered a strained right hamstring in Friday’s practice, although he and Dorrell said the injury was minor. “I’ll be out there Monday,” said Olson, who is competing with Pat Cowan for the starting job.


Times staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this report.