The Trojans held their last full practice in pads before the Trojan Huddle on Saturday and there were several younger players who got long looks today and performed very well.
Wide receiver William Buchanan had possibly his best day in a Trojan uniform as he got plenty of reps after Kareem Kelly left practice early with a sore right hamstring that will likely cause him to miss the Huddle. Buchanan has dropped a few balls so far this spring but today he was extremely solid with his usual good routes and the coaches were sending him into coverage a lot which resulted in some big hits but he responded with flying colors. Jason Leach also had a nice day with some hitting as he is the primary back up right now to Troy Polamalu at strong safety.
A 7 on 7 drill got started with Carson Palmer completing a pass to Grant Mattos as Mattos continues to look good now that his knee is healthy. Matt Leinart came in and hit Buchanan with a quick pass and Leach came up and put a wicked hit on him but William hung on to the ball. Leinart then threw another sharp pass to Devin Pitts and then Carson threw a pass behind Frank Candela but Flash reached behind him and made a nice grab. Carson then hit Buchanan on a deep pass in front of DeShaun Hill as William went up and caught the ball with both hands extended in front of him. William continued his impressive play when Matt Cassel threw a ball that was a little low but he went to the ground and made the catch.
David Davis then came in and hit 3 of 4 field goals from 35 yards.
An 11 on 11 scrimmage began with Carson hitting Chad Pierson who made some nice moves to elude two defenders for a 25 yard gain. Mike Pollard came in on a blitz and got the sack. The offensive line was a patchwork group today as both Jacob Rogers and Nate Steinbacher left with leg injuries. Jacob said after practice that was likely a minor sprain to his right knee and he didn't anticipate any problems while Nate limped off with a right ankle and was in no mood to talk after practice. Those injuries forced a lineup on the OL that featured Phillip Eaves at LT and Travis Watkins at RT. Polamalu came on a blitz but Carson got the ball away and hit Doyal Butler in front of Darrell Rideaux. Lee Webb then blitzed but Malaefou MacKenzie came up and put a terrific block on him to give Carson time to hit Keary Colbert for a 10 yard gain. Sultan McCullough then took a run to the outside but Marcell Allmond read the play well and contained Sultan behind the line for a 3 yard loss. Marcell has all the physical tools and once he adjusts to the cover skills required to play corner then he should be just fine. Carson hit Pierson with a short pass and Chad made Leach miss before rambling for a 20 yard gain. Pierson is looking great and it is nice to see him in shape after taking almost all of last season to recover from his back injury. Cassel dropped back and had all day to throw so he tried to go deep to Buchanan but Leach made a beautiful play to reach up and knock the ball away. Carson hit Alex Holmes with a short pass and the big tight end started moving forward with Aaron Graham strapped on his back and he didn't go down until Allmond came over to help after a 15 yard gain. Carson then showed real nice touch on a deep ball to D. Hale who beat Allmond for the touchdown.
Sultan ran the ball but John Walker caused a fumble with a big hit and Brandon Hancock came out of the pile with the ball but that wasn't good enough for Kennedy Pola who let Sultan know in so many words that fumbling is not a good thing. Darryl Poston ran up the middle but was met immediately by Lee Webb for no gain. Austin Jackson beat Watkins for a sack and then Billy Hart hit Hancock on a short pass and the freshman hulk got a head of steam and absolutely ran right over Kyle Matthews for a 20 yard gain. It was an impressive play by Hancock and brought big cheers from the sidelines. Carson tried to hit Sultan with a quick pass but Rideaux came up and knocked the ball away. The same trio combined on the next play with similar results as Carson went to Sultan and Darrell came up and wrapped him around the ankles for no gain. Rideaux looks as solid as we have seen him in his Trojan career so far this spring. Cassel went to Doyal Butler but the ball was bobbled and when Walker came up for the hit the ball bounced off the backs of about 5 players before finally hitting the ground for an incomplete pass. The Pete Carroll defense is a swarming unit and when the ball is in the air we see multiple players rushing to make the play. Mike Patterson had a sack on Carson with an incredibly quick move off the snap to beat Norm Katnik. Carson then calmly dropped back and hit Colbert on a nice deep route for a 65 yard score. Austin Jackson got his 2nd sack of the day when he got to Leinart. Leinart then hit Buchanan with a short pass but William turned up field and outraced the coverage for a 65 yard score. Hart finished the day with a beautiful touch pass over the shoulder of Butler who made the catch for a 20 yard gain.
Among those in attendance included Manuel Wright, Winston Justice, Oscar Lua, Kurt Katnik, LB Lee Martin from St. Bonaventure, LB Michael Okwo from Mira Costa, OL/DL Kevin Brown and QB Leon Jackson from LB Poly and a big lineman from Manual Arts who Manuel Wright said was named Myers.
Spring Ball Day 6
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