The quarterback battle we were hoping to see this spring showed signs of emerging as both Rocky Hinds and John David Booty had their moments throwing the ball. Rocky had a stretch during a skeleton passing drill where he hit 4 out of 5 passes including a pair to Steve Smith, one deep to Dwayne Jarrett and a dump off pass to Michael Coleman. Rocky also had a couple nice throws to Whitney Lewis who continues to look solid. Booty looked particularly sharp during the team drills at the end of the day where he hit Brandon Hancock with a nice pass in the flat, he had a rope over the middle that was juggled by Jarrett before being caught and he also completed a couple passes to walk-on Jon Zilka that went for good yardage. One of his best plays occurred when Booty eluded Sartz and Ramsey to roll right and hit Kirtman on the run for a 20 yard pick-up. Reggie Bush made a real nice catch of a low thrown ball from Booty. In addition, two of the best completions of the day were from walk-on Michael McDonald, the son of Paul who recently returned to the team for spring practice. McDonald hit Jarrett on a deep pass down the left sideline where Dwayne went up against good coverage from #35 (a walk-on CB) and came down with the football. Before that McDonald had another nice ball to Jimmy Miller for a solid gain.
Several of the tight ends made plays today. Fred Davis came to camp in good shape and he had a couple nice mid-range catches, including one along the sideline from Booty. Miller had the one catch from McDonald and he also caught one over the middle for a long gain. Dale Thompson had one of the best catches of the day with a grab against good coverage from Thomas Williams but then he came back on the next series and dropped a catchable ball. Chris Barrett also had one catch where he extended his body nicely for the completion. We haven't seen anybody really separate themselves yet at this spot but it's nice to see all the guys making contributions.
It was a good day for Dallas Sartz as he was extremely active. During the team drill Dallas did a great job of causing havoc with the offense as he had a sack, an interception on a throw from Hinds and he was in on several tackles. Dallas is playing like an experienced senior so far. Oscar Lua seems to be comfortable in the starting spot at MLB and he returned a tipped pass for a touchdown in a passing drill. Keith Rivers showed his speed when he tracked down Coleman on a play where the freshman thought he was going to be able to get to the sideline until Rivers made the play. Collin Ashton had an interception of a Booty pass. Thomas Williams saw action at both the middle and strongside spots and he had one play where he read a screen well to Bush. Ken Norton got credit for one tackle during the practice, he was late getting out of the defensive huddle and was trying to get to the sideline when Booty threw a quick out pass to Bush who started upfield and headed directly toward Norton who mockingly put his head down and pretended to make the tackle. The players got a good laugh and Norton received high fives from all the other coaches for his effort.
The 2-deeps on the line are as follows:
Offensive line - LT Baker, Williams LG Byers, Malu C Kalil, Spanos RG Matua, Radovich RT Lutui, Justice
Defensive line – DE Jackson, Goodrum DT Ramsey, Moala NG Ellis, Miles DE Schweiger, Tofi
Jethro Franklin showed his vocal side today after being fairly subdued on Tuesday. He doesn't reach Ed Orgeron noise levels but he definitely made his presence known out there.
Mario Danelo made all four of the field goal attempts he tried from 22, 27, 32 and 37. Kevin Ellison blocked a field goal attempt from #9 (a walk-on kicker). We also worked on punt team a lot with Tom Malone out there and Todd McNair coaching the drills.
The recent signees in attendance were Mark Sanchez, Luthur Brown and Brian Cushing. Cushing will be out here for the next ten days and said he was very impressed with the intensity of the Trojan practice, "It's a whole different level out there". One potential recruit watching practice was Ira Guilford, a running back who is originally from Hoboken, New Jersey and who spent his freshman year at Ohio State before leaving the school. Ira is very interested in USC and will also be looking at several SEC schools.