Also encouraging for the run game was the performance today by Stafon Johnson. Stafon had perhaps the most memorable run of the practice during the run drill on Brian Kennedy Field when he lowered his shoulder and knocked both Kaluka Maiava and Garrett Green to the ground. He spun for a few extra yards after the contact and after the play was dead the offense, including Coach McNair, was going nuts. That run came directly after his previous carry where Stafon had fumbled and with the way he pounded the ground in frustration you had a feeling he was going to bounce back with a big play and he did.
Vidal Hazelton saw a lot of passes thrown his way today and he responded well. He had one deep slant where he threw his hands out well in front of his body to make the grab before absorbing the tackle. One of the things I really like about his game is that he plays fearless, Vidal will make the tough catch in traffic and take the hit. He definitely seems ready for action this weekend.
Sed Ellis returned to the practice field and he also looked like he was excited to be back on the field. He was very active in drills. I'm also continuing the like what I see from Averell Spicer, he is so quick and active.
Allen Bradford ran with the service team offense and he put the ball on the ground a couple times. It's a tough go to try and gain yardage against our defense although David Ausberry made more plays again today. David looks like he is moving very well right now.
In a 9 on 7 drills, we saw Booty hit Smith on a deep pass where he fired it on a rope. There have been some who want Booty to show more touch on certain passes but this throw called for a rope and John David delivered. Fred Davis caught a pass on a wheel route. Mike Brittingham lit up Thomas Williams with a solid block and the two exchanged a little trash talk after the play. Emmanuel Moody had a hard run up the middle. Booty hit Smith on a 50 yard touchdown pass after Steve had gotten behind the secondary.
Once the team drill got started, several people observing from the sidelines (including former Trojan quarterback Jim Hardy) remarked about the good energy that had picked up during the day. Vidal got things going with a sideline grab from Booty. A couple plays later Mark Sanchez was intercepted by Taylor Mays. Booty tried to hit Travon Patterson along the sideline but Antwine Perez was there to knock the ball away. Another completion to Fred Davis, followed by one to Anthony McCoy and suddenly the tight ends were fired up. Booty hit Patterson over the middle on a drag pattern, Travon tried to put on some shake moves but the defenders just held in there and closed in to make the tackle. Sanchez had a nice completion to Patrick Turner in traffic.
Walker Ashley and C.J. Gable did not practice but Kevin Ellison and Nick Vanderboom did (first time in several weeks that Nick has been dressed for a practice).