The Trojans wrapped up conditioning with the strength coaches and were throwing balls around at 7 a.m. sharp. Practice didn't wrap up until about 8:20 a.m. The energy level was high throughout the entire workout as players cheered, yelled, and chased each other down after plays. A new routine Thursday? Pushups. Miss a tackle, miss a hit… drop and give twenty. Safety Josh Shaw's arms might be a little tired later in the afternoon. During Shaw's rounds of pushups, fellow safety Dion Bailey provided encouragement and a few tips when he got up.
Freshman Darreus Rogers continues to impress during both 7on7 and 11on11 drills. As fall camp quickly approaches, I won't be surprised at all to see him fill that No. 3 spot. Victor Blackwell showed Thursday why he's still a bit of a risk on the field. Blackwell made a number of routine plays, but he also made a few costly mistakes, including a careless fumble after making the reception, resulting in a turnover. He jumped off the line too soon on another play, resulting in a false start.
Sophomore Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick had a standout day. He caught multiple passes including what had to be the catch of the day over linebacker Lamar Dawson. It was a one handed grab that Dawson got what looked to be an arm on, Fitz-Patrick went to the ground, miraculously grabbing the ball before it hit the turf. He looks like one of the most improved players since spring ball ended.
Freshmen tailbacks Ty Isaac and Justin Davis also had a strong day. Isaac showing his ability to be a power back, Davis wiggling his way through the holes to break through for a couple big gains. Davis also put in a lot of work Thursday blocking.
The defensive line continues to be the winner of summer. Leonard Williams and George Uko sacked Max Wittek. Williams then had a solo sack on Kessler. Then it was Devon Kennard and a blitzing Dion Bailey sacking Kessler.
Center Marcus Martin said after practice that he doesn't think the sacks allowed are the function of a weak offensive line but rather a defensive line that is very physical and very strong.