Spring Ball Day 5

Well, that was certainly an interesting day of practice in a rare Southern California downpour. The Trojans moved practice to Cromwell Field today to work on the artificial surface rather than tear up the grass on Howard Jones/Brian Kennedy Field and they got in a solid two hour workout.

The crowd was a little smaller than normal to watch the practice and many of those who were in attendance sought shelter underneath the track starters tent. One of the most popular people at the start of the day was the Trojan staffer who was passing out ponchos to several of the onlookers including Garrett Green and Alex Parsons.

There was a lot of work on kickoff coverage to start the day with Troy Van Blarcom and Mario Danelo taking turns kicking off.

A 9 on 7 drill was held with Brandon Hancock taking the first play on a sweep to the right only to be stopped quickly by Kyle Moore who had good pursuit on the play. Two plays later Hancock took a handoff up the middle and was met by a hard tackle from Antwine Perez. Ryan Powdrell gained eight yards on a run to the left side and then Kaluka Maiava came in for a TFL on John Griffin. With Clay Matthews sitting out practice after taking a hard shot while trying to tackle Dwayne Jarrett on Sunday, we saw Keith Rivers moving around and seeing action at SLB which moved Kaluka into the starting WLB spot.

The linemen held their one on one drills with Kyle Williams and Kyle Moore going up against each other on the first series. Williams stopped Moore on both reps and then Chilo Rachal did a good job on both of his reps against Chris Barrett. Ryan Kalil and Sedrick Ellis each won one rep against each other. Matt Spanos got the best reaction from his linemates when he gave a solid chest pop that drove back Walker Ashley but to Walker's credit he came back on the next play and beat Spanos. The battles between Lawrence Jackson and Sam Baker are among the highlights of each day, to watch these two go against each other is a real treat. Travis Tofi sat out the drill with a sore right ankle. Charles Brown was working as the back-up right tackle against Alex Morrow and he did a pretty good job.

For the team drill, Mark Sanchez got things started with a couple completions to Steve Smith, one of which was a nice gain over the middle. Sanchez dropped back on the next play against a blitz and he had time thanks to a terrific blitz pick-up by Mike Brittingham who simply dropped the defender to the ground. Maiava had a solid tackle on a Hancock run. Powdrell took a handoff and was met by Cary Harris with a real nice hit that drew cheers from his teammates. Sanchez hit Patrick Turner for a deep touchdown over the middle.

There had been a question on the message board today about Lawrence Miles and the update is that Lawrence had shoulder surgery one month ago today on his left shoulder and will miss all of spring ball drills.

Thoughts from Kaluka Maiva

Talk about how you've done so far this spring

"I feel a lot better mentally, feeling more comfortable. I mean, I'm still making some mental errors and it's just a matter of working on the simple things. In my mind I should be doing more. It may look like I'm playing better but I could still be doing more."

Do you feel like you are able to play more instinctively as you feel more comfortable?

"Definitely. It helps me be able to read things faster, be able to break on the ball, make more plays. Coach Norton helps me a lot with that. He does a great job of helping me feel comfortable out there by knowing the things I need to know."

How much do you enjoy special teams?

"It's the best way to start a game. To go out there and get your mind right by hitting someone. I'm on all the special teams right now, all the linebackers are. It's a good thing for us to be out there together."

This is quite a linebacker crew this year.

"Oh man, we've got a lot of guys but so many of them are injured right now. We've got to get back guys like Dallas and Cush and Thomas Williams. We've got so much talent."

Talk about how you and Keith Rivers work together at weakside linebacker.

"It's not a dog eat dog situation. We're out there trying to help each other and make each other better. He's a great player."

Did your fellow linebackers get on you last week after you missed the open interception?

"Yeah, they played it back over and over again in the film room and the guys were getting on me. They just kept on rewinding it."

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