Spring Ball Day 13

The Trojans began the final week of spring ball drills with a practice that featured a lot of situational work with a couple fine defensive performances from a pair of veterans who have been hurt recently.

Terrell Thomas and Dallas Sartz have both been banged up and didn't take part in the majority of drills during spring, Terrell practiced a little more than Dallas did, but today we saw both players in action and they reminded us of why they were such valuable starters on last year's team.

Thomas has been recovering from knee surgery and so he wears a bulky brace at practice now. He said he hasn't gotten used to the brace yet because it's not a natural feeling but he's able to move better with it now than he was at the beginning of spring ball. Today we saw Terrell make some real nice breaks on the ball and former Trojan corner Darrell Rideaux really liked what he saw from Terrell while watching from the sidelines. Darrell praised the confidence that Terrell is playing with right now and he went nuts after one pass break up when Steve Smith ran a deep slant and Terrell broke hard on the ball to knock it away, Darrell said it was terrific recognition from Terrell to read the play and break to the right spot. USC secondary coach Rocky Seto told a recent Trojan Club gathering that Terrell will be our next great cover corner and Rideaux said he agrees with that statement.

Sartz has been sidelined with his sore shoulder but today we saw him providing coverage in passing drills and he made one of the big plays of the day when he dropped deep in coverage to tip away a pass over the middle which was eventually intercepted by Kevin Ellison. It was the type of play that reminds us of how savvy Dallas is on the field and why he will be such a valuable asset next year. This guy was a senior captain last season for a reason and it will be a blessing to have him back.

We also saw a lot of work today from Brian Cushing, Whitney Lewis and Travis Draper. Those three have not been on the field much this spring but they were out there today. It was good to see Cushing in cover drills, he didn't go through too much contact but on one running play he did give the ballcarrier an extra shot as they play was coming to an end. Whitney practiced at tailback and he didn't look too bad. He showed some decent speed turning the corner a few times, I sure would've liked to see him healthy this spring with so much opportunity available at tailback. Draper worked mostly at RG from what I saw. Kevin Ellison and Drew Radovich also got extended work. Jeff Byers was dressed but I did not see him go through any drills.

The team worked a lot on first down situations, second down situations, third down, etc and in the situational drills there was minimal contact as the players had taken their shoulder pads off before the drill. It was a small touch by Carroll to give the team a break just a couple days after a scrimmage, the kind of move that players appreciate from a coach at the tail end of spring ball.

Jimmy Miller and Dale Thompson both looked good catching the ball in the situation drills as did Dwayne Jarrett and Patrick Turner. Kevin Thomas picked a Mark Sanchez pass but other than that Mark showed good touch on his passes today. Kyle Moore recovered a fumble and knocked down a pass at the line.

DB recruit Lance Mitchell from Muir HS was in attendance.

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