Friday conditioning workout

The Trojans got back to work this morning following the holiday break with a 6:30am conditioning session followed by a 7 on 7 throwing session with the skill players. Click below for a recap including photos from the day:

There was good attendance today, particularly among the incoming freshmen as only Vidal Hazelton and Kenny Ashley were not there. A couple of the freshmen had early struggles, Alex Parsons was seen bent over at one point while Butch Lewis was slow in some of the unfamiliar drills, but they should be up to speed by the time camp rolls around.

It's interesting to see so many of the veterans wearing an upper body weight vest while going through the drills. It has to be a little intimidating for the new guys who are struggling to see the veterans not only cranking through the drills but wearing extra weight just for the sake of getting better.

Things were pretty vocal today as you can get the sense that football is right around the corner. Brandon Hancock was heard yelling "We're ready to work today" and Lawrence Jackson was carrying on some good banter with Chris Carlisle to keep the energy level high. At one point, Terrell Thomas missed a square in a rope drill which caused the entire defensive group to do the drill again. There were a few grumbles before Thomas Williams yelled out "Thank you Terrell for the opportunity to get better."

If there is a single item missed or just one cone knocked over in a drill the players all have to go through the drill again as a way of driving home the point that it's the little things that can make a difference when you're tired. If you're tired at the end of a conditioning session and knock down a cone, what happens at the end of the game when you're tired and we're driving for the winning touchdown? Will you jump offsides? Commit a holding penalty? These drills help keep the players focused on details like that.

Walker Ashley was still walking with a boot on his left foot but he said he will return to all drills on Monday. Jeff Byers, John David Booty and Chauncey Washington all did stretching and light agility drills as they continue to rest nagging injuries. Byers says his hip is fine but his back has been bothering him a little and he wants to make sure things are fine for camp. Jeff sure looks solid and ready to go based on what we can see of him so far.

Three skill players who have consistently stood out this summer in terms of work ethic and stamina in drills have been Brandon Hancock, Steve Smith and Terrell Thomas. Look for all three to have big years.

Jeff Byers and Rey Maualuga

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