The Trojans started fall
camp practice this morning with players arriving around 8:30. It was a divided
squad practice with the veterans going this morning and the freshmen practicing
this afternoon. There were selected upperclassmen (Cassel, McFoy, Carlson) who
sat out this morning so that they can go this afternoon with the freshmen to
balance out the numbers during passing drills.
Here are a few thoughts from the session:
Keary Colbert - solid, hands, high knees on his routes. He caught everything thrown his way.
Mike Williams - he dropped a few passes but also made his fair share of grabs including one high thrown ball from Billy Hart where Mike just put his big paw up there and came down with the ball.
LuJuan Ramsey - very quick off the ball. Made two noticeable plays including one where he tracked down Andre Woodert in the backfield.
Andre Woodert - Andre had a nice run down the right sideline in an early drill.
Matt Leinart - looked the best of the three quarterbacks who threw this morning. showed good movement in the pocket to buy extra time on some plays and was generally accurate. he hit Colbert on a deep cross that went for a big gain. Also rolled left to hit Kurt Katnik (wearing #85 in his first action at TE).
Kevin Arbet - good to see him back, Kevin had one of the more impressive practices of the day. He was all over the field in coverage and had a pick against Billy Hart and also knocked away a pass attempt from Leinart to Colbert.
Oscar Lua - had a pick against Billy Hart.
Ronald Nunn - also had a big day in his return off injury. Nunn showed his athleticism when he went up high against Mike Williams on a jump ball from Leinart and it was Ronald who came down with the ball. Also had a pick on another Leinart pass when the ball went in and out of the hands of Katnik.
Marcell Allmond - easily and calmly knocked away a slant pass to Williams on one play.
Billy Hart - struggled on the day.
Brandon Hance - he was out there and got a lot of reps. He made some nice plays, some not so nice plays and it was obvious that he was just a step off. It was good to see him out there though and he should get some stamina back after missing so much time this summer.
Matt Grootegoed - saw action at WLB during one series with Dallas Sartz at SLB.
Hershel Dennis - picked up right where he left off last spring. Had a nifty cut move at the line to lose Darnell Bing although if they were in pads Darnell probably would have smacked him with a big tackle. Hershel had one run where he started left, saw no hole, came back right behind a block out in front by Leinart on Will Buchanan to pick up extra yardage. He also broke one down the right side for a long gain.
Shaun Cody - was out there with the first team and moving well.
Alex Holmes - did not practice
Brandon Hancock is #40, Oscar Lua is #45.
Jeff Schweiger and Thomas Herring were in attendance.
The freshman took the field
this afternoon and it was our first look at the top-ranked class of 2003. They
did not disappoint. It was a typical first day of practice with some big plays,
some tired players and a few sloppy mistakes but all in all the talent level of
the players is obvious.
John David Booty was one of the centers of attention. He alternated snaps with Matt Cassel and John David showed the strong arm and zip that he is known for. He missed on several throws where he overthrew the target but that could be a case of getting to know his new receivers. On one deep pass attempt to Chris McFoy he threw a beautiful ball 45 yards on a line but the play was broken up by Brandon Ting and Terrell Thomas. It was a terrific throw but one that Booty will learn to put more air under in the future. It was a solid debut.
Whitney Lewis also looked extremely good. He received a lot of one-on-one teaching today from Lane Kiffin and Whitney looked powerful on his routes. His body is so thick and the buzz on the sidelines is that most people thought he looked like a linebacker. When you see him run though, you know he is a wide receiver.
Manuel Wright heard it from Ed Orgeron after Manuel completed an early drill in less than satisfactory form. There is no doubt about Manuel's quickness but he will need to adjust to the work demands of the Trojan team. Manuel left the field with an ice pack on a sore left foot.
Steve Smith made one of the plays of the day on a completion across the middle from Booty when Smith juggled the ball 3 or 4 times, including a missed swipe at the ball from Chris Barrett, before making the catch. Some of the veterans on the sideline were yelling "Malaefou" after a similar catch from MacKenzie last year.
Greig Carlson had a good day and caught everything thrown his way.
Matt Cassel looked like a veteran out there and he threw the ball well. Matt completed a mid-range pass to Whitney Lewis over Ryan Ting. He also had a nice play to Jason Mitchell on a pass down the right sideline.
Collin Ashton did a good job to knock down a Cassel pass on a blitz.
As for the three running backs, it was primarily Reggie Bush but LenDale White also showed a lot of promise. Reggie was a slasher while LenDale ran hard and had a long touchdown run where he outran Desmond Reed and eventually gave him a stiff-arm before waltzing into the end zone. White had an earlier run where he ran into Terrel Thomas and Thomas was a little wobbly after the play. LenDale said after practice that he felt a little winded and looked forward to getting in better shape to be able to contribute. Bush has moves and quicks but he did fumble on one play and the defense swarmed before Brandon Ting came away with the ball. Chauncey Washington looked a little winded, he doesn't look in bad shape by any means, but he will need to work into Trojan football shape during camp.
Gregg Guenther was taking snaps at tight end and looked to be moving fairly well.
On the offensive line it was Radovich at LT, Baker at LG, Kalil at C, Spanos at RG and Kyle Williams at RT. The defensive line had Barrett at DE, Moala, Ellis, Watson and Wright at DT with Morrow and Jackson at ends.
Among the notables in attendance were CB Terrail Lambert from St Bonaventure and former OL coach Keith Uperesa.