The sun was shining on a beautiful day as the Trojans took the field for the opening spring ball practice session.
Here's a report on a few of the
guys who stood out:
QB - Leinart looked very much in control and was on
target. Matt has lost a lot of key comfort factors for a QB (both starting WR's,
his QB coach and, for the time being, his blindside tackle) but he still looked
solid. One particularly nice throw came off a scramble when he lofted a pass to
Alex Holmes along the sideline and Alex caught it with one hand for a nice gain.
John David Booty threw a sharp ball and appeared to be comfortable running
things in drills.
RB - Bush was the top RB on the day including an
underneath route where he took the pass from Brandon Hance and turned on the
speed to outrace the defender for 40 yards. Hershel Dennis had a couple nice
runs. LenDale White got some work but didn't break any big plays that I saw.
Desmond Reed had some carries and Andre Woodert saw action as well. David
Kirtman, Lee Webb and Jody Adewale (who looked noticeably quicker and more agile
than last year) shared the rotation at FB.
WR - A very impressive day for
the receivers. We'll start with Steve Smith who will take over for Colbert as
the smooth, dependable receiver. Steve ran crisp routes and caught everything
thrown his way including a high pass over the middle from Leinart where he went
up to make the catch. Whitney Lewis looked very, very good. He's in shape and
showcased the nice hands that we know he has by making a variety of catches. On
one play Whitney caught the ball at full speed and stopped quickly to avoid a
tackle from Lofa Tatupu who was closing in across the middle. Whitney also had
one juggling catch along the sideline that drew applause from onlookers and
everybody in attendance came away with a lot of praise for Lewis. Chris McFoy is
another one who will be in the mix if he continues to play like he did today.
Chris had a one-handed catch that was his biggest highlight of the practice.
Fred Davis was the focus of many of the people watching as they wanted to see
the young freshman and he didn't disappoint. Fred is so big and he runs well but
he did get the ball stripped by Brandon Ting on one play and he'll adjust
quickly to the ballhawking nature of college defenders. All the receivers stayed
after practice for 20 minutes of extra work.
TE - The big news at TE was
the return of Holmes. Alex had a couple nice grabs, including the one mentioned
above from Leinart, and moved better than you might think for someone who has
missed so much time. Alex also got in some long snapping work after practice.
Dom Byrd did not take part in the practice but he was running some routes
afterwards to get in some extra work.
OL - Kyle Williams performed well
at right tackle in place of Justice and Kyle looks more physical than we've seen
from him in the past. His feet looked quick. There will be a good battle at LT
between Radovich and Baker. Drew Radovich absolutely pancaked a defender on one
run drill play and Pete Carroll came over to pat him on the back for a job well
done. Radovich also had one reception on the day when a batted ball from John
David Booty landed in Drew's arms but he didn't do too much with the ball in his
hands. Ryan Kalil was also impressive on the first day. Tiny Malu was out there
at guard and he certainly looks big but he struggled at times in his first
practice with the Trojans. There's no doubt he has the talent and he should be
DL - Shaun Cody played as if the team had never taken any time
off. He had a sack of Leinart on one play and got in Matt's ear afterwards to
let him know "too fast, I'm just too fast". Manuel Wright jumped out at
onlookers immediately for his improved physique. Manny is down to 280 and
there's no reason he shouldnt be a major contributor this year. I was also
extremely impressed with the frames on Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis, both
look like they are ready to go.
LB - It was great to see Groots back on
the field. With Matt, Lofa Tatupu and Sartz as the starters that is a fine trio
to put out there. Sartz had a pass which he knocked down at the line of
scrimmage. Thomas Williams had a beautiful diving interception of a pass when
Booty tried to hit Kurt Katnik. Oscar Lua went through most of the practice
which was a nice surprise to see.
DB - Watch out for Eric Wright in the
corner competition. If today was any indication Wright will be in the mix as he
showed terrific coverage and instincts in all the drills. We didn't see much of
Eric last fall due to injury but he sure looked good today. He broke up a pass
intended for Buchanan from Leinart with a nice move. Wyatt and Nunn were the
starters while John Walker and Terrell Thomas each had a couple nice plays.
Darnell Bing was huge (Jimmy Miller was in shock that someone so big could be a
Among those in attendance:
recruits who were spotted:
Cary Harris - Notre Dame
Travis Howard -
Crenshaw (there were about 12 guys from Crenshaw)
Kevin Ellison -
Jesse Canada - Monrovia
Brian Salazar - Monrovia
Will Harris -
Troy Van Blarcom - Orange Lutheran
Darrell Chammarro - Chino
Jason Brown - Long Beach Poly
Luther Brown - Lakewood
Caleb Taylor -
Anthony Walker - Campbell Hall
Ferrari Welch - Sweetwat
Spring Ball Day 1
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