Spring Ball Day 7

Today was a shorter practice, a no pads session that featured extensive work on special teams.

There were some interested onlookers as incoming DB Taylor Mays made the trip down from Washington and new commit RB Broderick Green watched his future teammates in action. Green was introduced to Mays, and to Garrett Green, shortly after he had given his verbal to Pete Carroll and Broderick was seen talking to both guys for a while. Other recruits in attendance included LB Blaine Irby and DB Michael Williams, both from St. Bonaventure HS.

There were also a couple guys going through some walk-through drills who hadn't seen action so far this spring. Hershel Dennis was able to take a couple plays at running back although he didn't carry the ball. Drew Radovich saw some reps at LG and that was certainly good to see.

There was extensive work done on kickoff coverage, kickoff return and punt return drills. Once again Troy Van Blarcom continues to show improvement and it is interesting to now see him walking around practicing his "drops" as Tom Malone used to do by dropping the ball in front of him as he walks. The drop is a critical element in any punt and Van Blarcom is looking more and more like a viable punter with every practice.

Steve Smith was once again working as the primary return man on kickoffs and punts. Ryan Ting is often back there as well but tonight the Ting brothers are attending a Phi Beta Kappa dinner and they were not at practice. Both were seen dressed for the event as they were headed to the dinner shortly after practice ended. Jim Abbott got a lot of return work in his place. Clay Matthews was back in action on coverage teams after missing a couple days with concussion symptoms.

There was a lot of work on the 2:00 minute drill for the offense with Mark Sanchez looking very good and his two main targets were Dwayne Jarrett and Chris McFoy. Mark threw several completions along the left sideline to Jarrett and the thing about Dwayne these days is that he looks so calm while doing his job. On one reception in particular Mark threw the ball before Dwayne made his break and once he turned he simply raised his hands slightly in the air to grab the ball before gliding out of bounds. Mark also had a terrific throw to Jarrett for a 35 yard completion where he dropped the ball in over good coverage from Jamel Williams.

McFoy caught one ball along the sideline where he had to adjust his body in mid-air to get in front of the defender, it was an acrobatic move by Chris. He also caught several balls over the middle and in the short flat. Brad Walker also had a good day catching the ball.

A couple players came up limping during the day as Gerald Washington and Rey Maualuga both were seen getting work done on the hamstring area. Maualuga was able to go back in, I didn't see Washington go back in once he left the field. Maualuga had a nice open field tackle on Steve Smith before he went out.

Perhaps the highlight play of the day came from walk-on defensive tackle Mike Davis. The offense had moved the ball down inside the 10 during the two minute drill and Sanchez dropped back to pass and he tried to fire a slant but Davis got his arm up, tipped the ball in the air and then came down with the interception.

At one point when the offense was working the two minute drill the defense had the following line-up on the field: Rivers (at DE), Barrett, Ellis, Moore, Maiava, Lua, T Thomas, K Thomas, McCurtis, Ellison, Perez.

Taylor Mays thoughts on the day

How does it feel to be here now knowing that you'll be out there in the fall?

"I want to be out there on the field now but it's good to at least be here and see what is going on. It's fun, I'm anxious to be a part of it. I just want to start learning the plays. I have a copy of the playbook and the training manual already and I'm learning those, I'll also be here in June to take part in summer school. I've seen the hard work and the dedication it takes to be a part of this program."

What position are you watching, where do the coaches talk to you about playing?

"I'm learning both safety spots at once. It's not that hard, they are pretty much the same plays."

Does anything jump out at you while watching practice?

"The speed of the game is what jumps out at you. There's so much energy out here and they aren't even wearing pads. Everybody is bigger than what you're used to but that's college football."

Have you been in contact with other members of your recruiting class?

"I've been talking with Jamere Holland, Antwine Perez, Allan Bradford, guys like that."

How does it feel to know you are going to be part of this program?

"It's cool to be able to say you're going to USC. Everybody smiles and their eyes light up when you say it."

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