Fall Camp Day One - afternoon session

It was a good practice this afternoon for the freshmen, newcomers and selected redshirt freshmen with all the hype that had surrounded this freshman class. One sign that everyone is anxious to see these new guys is that the vast majority of upperclassmen were in attendance to watch the afternoon practice even though they weren't required to be there.

Matt Cassel and Rocky Hinds took the snaps at quarterback and Cassel looked pretty good. Matt's arm was solid and he was the one moving the team in the various drills. Rocky had some success but, as could be expected in his first football practice in two years, he was a little inconsistent with the accuracy of his throws.

I headed over to the offensive line drills to get a look at Jeff Byers and he certainly didn't disappoint. Jeff is physical on the field and he plays until the end of the whistle on every play. Byers and Keith Rivers were having some good battles today and Byers got caught holding on one run play when he tried to drive Keith to the outside. It was great to see the two highly touted freshmen competing like that.

Deuce Lutui is huge and when he and Tiny Malu stand next to each other there isn't much room for anyone to get through. John Drake had practiced in the morning session and said he weighed 350 when the practice was over. Chilo Rachal was moving well.

Dwayne Jarrett made some very nice catches today including one where he went up with his long arms to get the ball. Fred Davis went through the day and caught a lot of passes, we didn't get to see a lot of Fred this spring so it's easy to forget how highly recruited he was just a few short months ago. Davis is a pretty big guy at receiver. Derrick Jones caught some short routes and he was hearing it from players and coaches who were reminding him to tuck the ball away. Derrick carries the ball a little loose right now and that's not going to work on a team where the slogan is "It's all about the ball". Jones certainly wasn't alone in that regard as one of the common themes you heard today were reminders for the freshmen to hold the ball "high and tight".

All three tight ends got some work with Dale Thompson and Jimmy Miller catching several balls. Michael Stuart was out there as well but Thompson and Miller had the bigger impact today. Miller had the best catch of the group on a pass from Cassel against good coverage from Rivers as Jimmy reached up and made the grab for a 20 yard gain.

The running back who did the most damage was Desmond Reed. Desmond and Andre Woodert were getting the reps this afternoon and Reed responded with several big plays. He caught a pass over the middle from Hinds and made a couple people miss, he had a long run down the sideline and then caught a ball from Cassel and took off for a long gain before weaving to the middle of the field to try for the end zone. Unfortunately for Desmond he didn't see Terrell Thomas who came from behind and stripped the ball away. In the final series of drills Desmond broke off another long run down the left sideline.

On the defensive side of the ball it was easy to be impressed with Jeff Schweiger, Rivers and Ryan Powdrell. It was good to see that Schweiger quickness on the Trojan practice field and he was difficult to block all day. Rivers was extremely active while Powdrell just seems to have the instincts for the position, on most plays he is quickly headed in the direction of the ball and he usually arrives with a full head of steam. I also liked Rashaad Goodrum, he's quick off the end and made some plays.

Fili Moala had to leave the field at one point due to the heat but he came back and made one play which stood out. He was going against Travis Draper in a scrimmage and Fili just bullrushed Travis back about six yards into the backfield.

Terrell Thomas continues to look good in his bid for playing time at corner. In addition to his strip of Reed Terrell had a pass break-up on a deep attempt from Cassel to Jarrett.

Marco Chavez has moved from MLB to DT.

Mario Danelo had a very nice day kicking the ball.

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