Fall Camp Day 4

It was a very spirited day as the Trojans held their final "shorts and shoulder pads" practice before putting on the pads tomorrow. We'll be listing some of the big plays from the day and there were certainly plenty to choose from. The day ended with Coach Carroll taking the team over for a diving session at the swim stadium with Carroll himself taking a leap from the diving board.

As usual there was some special teams work at the beginning of the day and Tom Malone hit a couple punts that were even longer than normal. There were estimates that one kick went 80 yards in the air as Greig Carlson simply turn and ran backward after the ball was kicked in his attempt to field the punt. In one punt return drill we saw a terrific block from Fred Davis on Alex Gomez.

One of the favorite drills to watch is always the RB/LB pass blocking drill because there are some very good match-ups. Reggie Bush had one of the best blocks of the drill today when he held off a hard-charging Thomas Williams.

While the RB/LB drill was going on the OL/DL were also holding a blocking drill of their own and the player who stood out while I was watching was Jeff Byers. Jeff did a good job going against both Mike Patterson and Sedrick Ellis on various plays.

The team moved to Brian Kennedy Field and Matt Leinart got things started with a completion to Steve Smith on a great touch pass. Leinart is so calm out there on the field these days and his accuracy is in mid-season form. Lawrence Jackson and Chris Barrett performed well as both have been getting extensive action at the defensive end spots. Jackson had good contain on one play to force the runner inside where multiple defenders were waiting. At one point the defense scored on back to back plays with a fumble and a bad center exchange by the offense. Leinart showed his willingness to throw the ball away when the defense had good coverage so he scrambled to find a receiver but ended up throwing the ball over the practice field wall and onto the street. Bush had a terrific cut move on one of the final plays of the drill.

The team moved to Howard Jones Field and things really picked up. John David Booty hit Smith down the middle for a nice gain as Steve looks as smooth as ever. Booty then had time to throw thanks in part to a nice block by Byers on Ellis and John David found Dwayne Jarrett for a completion against Eric Wright. Last year the coaches had Mike Williams and Matt Leinart room together during fall camp to help develop chemistry and this year Jarrett has been assigned to room with Matt during camp. Leinart hit Williams on a short pattern over the middle and it's just so nice to see Mike catching passes again on the practice field. Jeff Schweiger recovered a fumble. Booty got the ball to LenDale White who turned the corner and delivered a hit to DeSean Cunningham before running right over him. DeSean is a member of the USC track team who is trying to play cornerback and it's safe to say he doesn't face the likes of LenDale while running the 400 meters. Desmond Reed had a real nice run up the middle as he continues to impress in camp. Rocky Hinds hit Jarrett with a short pass and John Walker came up with a solid pop that sent Jarrett directly onto his back. It was a good play for Walker. The best defensive play of the practice might have come from Scott Ware on a quick pass to Reed when Scott read the play well and came up from his safety spot right as the ball arrived. To his credit Desmond hung on to the football but we certainly got a look at the playmaking ability of Ware on that play. Hershel Dennis took a handoff to the outside with Lee Webb leading the way, Lee made one block and while Hershel was trying to make a cut Lee hustled to make another block before Lofa Tatupu finally made the tackle. Jackson had a sack on Leinart. Darnell Bing came on a blitz so Rocky Hinds had to throw it low to the sideline and Will Buchanon made a terrific play to go low and get the ball. Will has put together a couple nice days in a row during the early stages of camp as he looks to build upon his strong showing last spring. Dallas Sartz had nice coverage on Alex Holmes to force an incompletion. Mike Patterson got into the backfield quickly to tackle Bush for a loss. LenDale White had a nice run up the middle and then he had another run to the outside where he was met with a strong tackle from Jason Leach. Matt Cassel completed a pass to Williams and Bing came up to try and strip the ball, the two playfully wrestled for about 15 seconds as Darnell attempted the strip but Mike hung onto the ball and let out a yell of celebration when Darnell finally gave up. Reed got yells of approval from his teammates when he put a shake move on Walker. In these final series of drills we saw Matt Spanos at RT and Chilo Rachal at LT as the coaches continue to look at different combinations on the line.

When practice was done the team went over to the McDonalds Swim Stadium for some diving off the diving boards. Carroll himself was one of the first to hit the water and soon there were plenty of players heading up the stairs to make a jump. Some quickly returned back down the stairs once they saw how high the platform was but others made some impressive dives. Taitusi Lutui dove off the low board but it still caused a lot of water to be emptied from that section of the pool.

Among those in attendance today were Brad Budde, Paul McDonald, Sam Anno and Willie Buchanon.

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