Spring Ball Day 9

There was some early rainshowers at the start of practice but then the skies cleared and it was a high energy day as the Trojans worked on a lot of special teams and situation offense, including the two minute drill.

The punt team got a lot of work with Reggie Bush continuing to work as the primary punt returner. It's understandable that the coaches would want to get Bush the ball in his hands as many times as possible because he is just so explosive and it shows in his returns. Reggie is also deep on kickoff returns, along with Jason Mitchell. The kickoff coverage team is as follows right now: Leach, Thomas, Ashton, Sartz, Tatupu, Walker, Webb, Killeen, Nunn, Tolliver and T Williams. William Buchanan had a punt block.

The offensive and defensive linemen went through a pass blocking drill, both one on one and three on two. Some of the battles in the one on ones went as follows: Cody got around Kyle Williams and Drew Radovich was brought in, Cody promptly beat Drew on the next play. Matua did a very good job against Patterson twice in a row. Kalil beat Ellis but then Ellis turned around on the next play and beat Kalil. Watkins did a good job of stopping Wright in his tracks. Baker held off Tofi despite the fact that Travis got a very good jump off the ball. Radovich stopped Barrett but Chris was looking a little tentative compared to the other linemen. With his shoulder still limiting him as far as how much he can take part Barrett isn't physically at full speed right now. Morrow beat Draper but then Draper stopped him on the next play. Kyle Williams came back in and did a good job against Cody. Ellis put on a bull rush where he simply pushed Kalil back a few yards as soon as the ball was snapped. During the three on two drills it was nice to see the o-linemen working together (Petros Papadakis calls it five fingers learning to work together as one hand) and it gives you a good idea of how much they must work in conjunction with the zone blocking schemes. One former linemen said the o-line is the most difficult position to understand as a fan because there is so much teamwork going on that you cant tell who is responsible for what when watching from the stands.

A run drill was held on Brian Kennedy Field and LenDale White was running as hard as we've seen from him this spring. This was a hard hitting drill, the kind which suits White just fine. LenDale took the first carry up the middle and he was met with tackle attempts by Leach and Bing but he stayed upright and gained extra yardage. Reggie Bush tried to get outside but Sartz read it well and got some praise from Ed Orgeron. A short Hershel run was sniffed out by Grootegoed who held the play to no gain. Baker did a nice job against the rush from Wright and opened up a hole for White.

The team moved to Howard Jones Field for a series of situational plays, including the two minute drills. Leinart got things started with a completion to Smith and then Bush got outside thanks to Baker and Watkins sealing their side of the line. Patterson and Sartz shut down a Bush run play and then a quick pitch to Reed was run with Leach coming up to get him behind the line for a loss. Reggie had perhaps the nicest run of the day when he went left, saw a whole bunch of defenders and immediately cut to the right where Kyle Williams had Cody blocked off and Reggie raced 25 yards to the end zone for a touchdown with Patterson, Tofi and Wyatt in pursuit.

The next series was a good one for the defense. John David Booty was at QB and he started things with a nice completion to Smith for 15 yards and then a quick throw to Andre Woodert went for good yardage as he followed a block from Draper and then a downfield block from Adewale to gain 17 yards. After that the defense stiffened and the offense turned the ball over on downs.

Leinart dropped back with a lot of time and threw deep over the middle, the ball was low but Buchanan went down and made a nice grab. Matt went back to the air with a pass to Bush who put shake moves on Tatupu and Wyatt that left them grasping for air and then when Thomas came over to make a tackle near the sideline Reggie gave him a stiff arm that knocked Terrell's helmet off as Bush went out of bounds. Leinart tried the fade to McFoy but Terrell knocked the ball away nicely. Pressure from Cody and Patterson forced Leinart to throw the ball away. On 3rd and 10 Leinart went to Alex Holmes over the middle but Sartz tackled him one yard short of the first down to force a 41 yard FG from Killeen which was good.

Booty hit Jason Mitchell over the middle and then tried to hit Nick Vanderboom but good coverage from Groots forced an incompletion. Booty tried a swing pass to Reed but Thomas Williams read the play well and was right there to cause another incompletion. Manuel Wright got good pressure against Draper but Booty hung in there and fired a strike to McFoy for the first down. An incomplete pass to Carlson and a short run forced 3rd down and Ellis and Lawrence Jackson got the sack to end the drive and the horns blew to announce the end of practice.

Among those in attendance were Craig Fertig, Rod Sherman, Steve Grady and Chilo Rachal. When Sherman arrived it was raining and he was told Fertig didnt have an umbrella for him, Rod quickly joked "Craig hasn't done anything for me in close to 40 years". Of course, all Notre Dame fans can tell you how Fertig and Sherman are linked together in Trojan lore against the Irish.

Fertig, Grady and Sherman

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