Sunday practice report

The intensity level has definitely picked up over the past two days and the defensive unit is beginning to assert their physical presence. The offense had some nice moments today but for the most part it was the defense who set the tone for the second day in a row.

No position has played a bigger role for the defense with some big hits than the linebackers. That's no surprise for any Trojan fan because of the depth and talent in the linebacking corps, as one fan said today "I heard we are going to a new defense with 11 linebackers." With this group, it wouldn't be a bad idea. Stafon Johnson got his introduction to our LB group in a drill today when it was the running back's responsibility to block a pass rushing linebacker. Rey Muauluga didn't even bother to go around Stafon, he just simply ran right through him. A couple reps later, Luthur Brown did basically the same thing. They say the toughest thing for young running backs to do is learn blitz pick-up and Stafon received an early lesson today.

A spirited situational drill was held on Brian Kennedy Field, with Brian Kennedy in attendance, and on the first play John David Booty tried to go deep along the left sideline but Keith Rivers made a nice interception. Stafon recovered from his run-ins with Maualuga and Brown enough to hit a hole on the right side and put a move on Mozique McCurtis which allowed him to get to the outside for a long run. On the next play, Booty rolled right and immediately hit Anthony McCoy in the flat, Kaluka Maiava came up to try a tackle but he bounced right off, Kaluka got the worst of the collision. Emmanuel Moody continued the freshmen highlights with a shake move to get into the secondary and it was a run that got Pete Carroll and Todd McNair extremely fired up.

Stanley Havili got the team drill started with a reception in the flat from Booty that picked up nice yardage, Stanley has shown good hands so far. Moody got to the sideline with a short run and took a hard shot from Maualuga which drove him out of bounds. Booty then hit Ryan Powdrell out of the backfield and Ryan was able to turn the play upfield for a 17 yard gain. Booty then rolled to his left and hit Chris McFoy for six yards. Stafon tried a run off the left side but Maualuga and Butch Lewis combined to hold the play to no gain. Booty tried to come back to McFoy on a slant pattern but Kevin Thomas did a good job to reach in and knock the ball away. Sedrick Ellis had a sack, he is really looking dominant so far. Moody had another impressive run, this time weaving his way through the middle of the line and up the left sideline, but Clay Matthews came from behind and poked the ball away. Carroll was seen talking with Moody after the play and showing him how he wants the ball tucked away "high and tight". Michael Coleman took a handoff and got through the line, it looked like he was headed for a nice gain until Kaluka jumped at him from behind and was able to trip him up. Luthur had a tremendous hit on Vidal Hazelton to jar the ball loose. Booty tried to hit Patrick Turner deep along the left sideline but Jimmy Abbott had good position and knocked the ball away. Abbott came right back with another good play after a short Booty completion to David Ausberry, Jimmy came over and laid a solid tackle to knock the bigger receiver out of bounds. Ellis tipped a pass at the line. The next play was a nice one for the offense as Booty rolled out, didn't see an open receiver so he kept sliding toward the sideline, and finally Ausberry came open 20 yards downfield and David made an impressive twisting catch while staying in bounds. Very nice. On the next play Kevin Thomas baited Booty into throwing to Brad Walker but as soon as the ball was released Kevin broke on the ball and made the interception. On one of the final plays of the day Sanchez rolled left and hit McFoy who tried to gain extra yardage but Shareece Wright came from behind and knocked the ball out.

Kenny Rowe (LB Poly defensive end) was in attendance today. Dwayne Jarrett (thigh), Lawrence Jackson (groin) and Terrell Thomas (hamstring) did not practice. Vincent Joseph watched from the sidelines with his ankle in a boot. The Trojans will put on full pads tomorrow with the freshmen practicing in the morning, veterans in the afternoon.


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