Spring Ball Day 5

Malaefou MacKenzie saw action for the first time this spring and looked very good in the drills when he had the opportunity to run with the ball. He doesn't show any tentativeness from his recent arthroscopic surgery but this was also a practice without full pads so I'm sure he's looking forward to some real contact.

It was a shorts and shoulder pads practice today for the Trojans on a chilly afternoon at Howard Jones Field.

In early punt drills the coaches were working with Tom Malone on rolling out and kicking on the run and for those of us who remember the Notre Dame game it was nice to see the punter actually kick the ball in this situation.

Malaefou MacKenzie saw action for the first time this spring and looked very good in the drills when he had the opportunity to run with the ball. He doesn't show any tentativeness from his recent arthroscopic surgery but this was also a practice without full pads so I'm sure he's looking forward to some real contact.

In a one on one passing drill that saw 1 WR going against 1 DB things got started with Keary Colbert running a deep route against Darrell Rideaux who had good coverage but the catch was still made. Marcell Allmond matched up against Jason Mitchell and Mitchell caught the ball despite a PI flag against Marcell and then Rideaux went against William Buchanan on a deep pass and Darrell was able to bat the ball away. William said after practice that he is up to 180 lbs and his technique is very good. Kareem Kelly went against Allmond with Kareem putting a shake move to the inside and then cutting outside for the easy catch. Mitchell then went against Miguel Fletcher on a stop and go deep route for an easy score.

An 11 on 11 drill began with Sultan breaking a long run as Justin Fargas was dressed but sat on the sidelines today. Chad Pierson broke a big gain on a run up the middle and then Darryl Poston was stopped by A.J. Single at the line of scrimmage. Sunny Byrd went around the end and tried to turn the corner but was met on a big hit by Lee Webb. Melvin Simmons continued to be one of the most impressive players of the spring as he came up and hit Sultan for no gain and then Omar Nazel had a nice tackle against Malaefou. Matt Cassel dropped back and threw a strike to Grant Mattos who was driven out of bounds after 9 yards by Allmond. Sultan tried to get to the outside on a run but DeShaun Hill and Mike Pollard combined for a big hit. One of the things that stood out today was the fact that it was a no pads practice but there were still more than a few hard hits. Poston went off tackle and Austin Jackson slowed him up before Webb came in and laid a good lick. Pierson was dragged down by Fletcher on a nice play by Miguel and then Malaefou had a short gain before Aaron Graham and Jason Leach combined for the stop.

The lineman held a 1 on 1 pass blocking drill that started with Nate Steinbacher looking good against Kenechi Udeze. Mike Patterson got a good early push against Zach Wilson but Wilson stopped him cold before he got to the QB. Shaun Cody beat Lenny Vandermade and then Omar Nazel went around Jacob Rogers. Udeze beat Steinbacher in a rematch and then Wilson took down Patterson as Mike tried to use his speed to get outside. Anthony Daye did a good job to overpower Norm Katnik and then Cody proceeded to move right through Vandermade. Single jumped offsides but got back in time and then beat Eric Torres. The coaches were still working with a starting line of Rogers, Vandermade, Katnik, Wilson and Steinbacher.

Next came an 11 on 11 passing drill that began with Carson Palmer hitting Buchanan for a good deep gain. Candela carried the ball for a short gain and then Poston went up the middle for 10 before taking a lick from John Walker who is starting to make a habit of big hits. Carson went to Pierson on a screen pass and Chad put a nice shake move to lose Mike Pollard and pick up extra yardage. Carson then tried to hit Alex Holmes over the middle but the ball was dropped. Omar Nazel came in on a good rush to pressure Carson but he calmly dumped a pass to Sultan who had good blocking in front with Zach Wilson for a 12 yard gain before Melvin Simmons drove him out of bounds with another terrific tackle. Matt Leinart came on and threw a good ball to Buchanan but the ball was bobbled and before it could hit the ground John Walker came up and made the pick with a nice return. Carson then went to Jason Mitchell but Walker made another big hit and then Carson overthrew Grant Mattos on a deep pass that would've gone for a touchdown. Carson hit Buchanan but Kyle Matthews put a hit on him that drew the biggest gasp from his teammates and the ball fell to the ground. Carson then went to Sultan with a pass that saw Katnik and Torres out in front for a solid gain.

Among the signees in attendance at practice today were Manuel Wright, Oscar Lua, Chris Doyle and LaJuan Ramsey as well as future walk-on kicker Ryan Kileen and recruits Kevin Brown and Anthony Wheat.

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