The first thing that caught the attention today is the fact that this was far and away the best performance we have seen from Rocky Hinds in a Trojan uniform. After not throwing for the past two days due to a sore shoulder Rocky not only showcased a strong arm but he also took off on a couple scrambles that picked up nice yardage. Rocky has a very strong arm, it's still not as consistent as someone like Leinart or Booty but there's no denying the velocity is there. Rocky had trouble early in the day during a run drill as he kept bumping into his linemen while pulling away from center but he settled down later in the day and made more than his share of plays in the team drills. John David Booty also looked solid and if the two of them can keep it up for the rest of spring it should be a very fun competition to watch.
In what has become a daily occurence, Chauncey Washington broke off a pair of long touchdown runs during the run drill on Brian Kennedy Field. His first TD came on the third play of the drill when Chauncey weaved his way through the right side of the line and then just exploded once he got into the secondary.
Desmond Reed also continues to make highlight plays when given an opportunity. His best play was probably a long TD run during the team drill but he also had a nice TD catch on a pass from Hinds and another TD catch from Booty during a passing drill. Reggie Bush also had a couple nice plays although Reggie isn't getting too many touches as the coaches want to get a long look at the younger guys, we clearly know what Reggie can do with the ball in his hands. David Kirtman had a short TD run and he also caught a pass along the sideline by going up against Scott Ware and coming down with the ball for a 20 yard gain.
One of the best plays of the day by a receiver came on a block by Chris McFoy. Fred Davis had caught a short pass from Hinds in the flat and McFoy simply crushed Ryan Ting which allowed Fred to move upfield where he punished Brandon Ting who came in for the tackle attempt. The Tings are getting a lot of work these days and they are very active but on this play they both came up on the short end of some solid contact. Chris also had another nice block on Keith Rivers inside the five yard line to allow Reed to get close to the goal line.
The block by McFoy wasn't the best of the day though as Drew Radovich absolutely crushed Jeff Schweiger on a sweep play to the opposite side when Jeff didn't see Drew coming. Radovich (who was playing RG at the time) also combined with Winston Justice on the next play to provide Rocky with a nice pocket and he calmly completed a deep out pattern to Steve Smith.
Dwayne Jarrett once again used his long arms to bring down a deep pass over the middle. Whitney Lewis caught a 25 yard pass from Michael McDonald. One walk-on who has been looking solid in drills in John Zilka, a tall receiver who has good hands. Will Buchanon looked good again.
Fred Davis got extra yardage on one play by bouncing off Keith Rivers as Fred is beginning to show that he can be a force when trying to pick up extra yards.
The linebacker rotation had a good day as they looked at several different combinations. Thomas Williams worked a lot with the first unit at MLB and he combined with LaJuan Ramsey to stop Chauncey for no gain on one play in the run drill. He also popped Reed for a short gain on a pass coming out of the backfield in the team drill and then closed out the day with a sack on Hinds. Rivers had a big stop on Chauncey during the team drill and chased down Rocky on one play when Hinds was trying to scramble. Ryan Powdrell had a real nice pick when he dropped back deep and intercepted a Hinds pass near the goal line.
Lawrence Jackson had a pair of sacks and also applied constant pressure. Chris Barrett and Kevin Ellison combined to hold Chauncey to no gain on one run. Ellison also knocked down a deep pass attempt. Barrett got a sack on the final play of the day although there was great coverage in the secondary and Rocky simply had nobody to throw to.
During the team drills, the punt team came on to get some working kicking out of the end zone. On the first attempt Tom Malone absolutely killed the ball and it sent Grieg Carlson running backwards to field it. One local high school coach who didn't have a good view of the kick simply heard the contact and saw the ball flying through the air and he gasped "that was a punt?". As if to show it wasn't a fluke, Tom knocked off another huge kick and the practice resumed with the team drills.
Mario Danelo hit a 42 yard field goal with plenty of room to spare.
Among those in attendance today were Mark Sanchez, Brian Cushing, Luthur Brown, Averell Spicer, Cary Harris and recruit Marc Tyler (Oaks Christian junior RB who came with his father Wendell, a former NFL RB who played college ball across town. At this point, the Trojans are definitely in the running for Marc).