Tuesday practice report

There is a certain change that is noticeable at practice during a big game week. It's nothing you can really put your finger on but things are just different when something bigger is at stake and you could sense that today at USC practice.

It was a very workman-like practice and one that was held in shoulder pads and shorts, different than the usual full pads practice for a Competition Tuesday. The first thing worth notice came early in the day when punter Greg Woidneck was simply booming the ball on his kicks. He looked great.

As the team started going through drills you noticed Chris McFoy and the energy he brings back to the field. I didn't see him go through any contact drills so it's hard to say where his shoulder is at but there is just a comforting feeling that comes from seeing #82 on the field. Next I noticed Travis Tofi taking reps on the interior of the defensive line and that's the first time we've seen him out there this fall. What a welcome bonus Tofi would be if we are able to add an experienced big body to our d-line depth for these last four games. Stanley Havili was in attendance but he wasn't dressed for practice. Lastly, on the injury front, Hershel Dennis was going through agility drills on the side field while the rest of the team was going through practice. We did a video interview with "Patch" after practice where he discussed his rehab and hopes for a sixth year of eligibility.

During the team drill, the defense definitely had the upper hand to start things off. John David Booty hit Travon Patterson with a short pass to begin the drill but then the defense took over. Booty tried to go downfield but Kevin Ellison tipped the ball and Dallas Sarts made the interception and nice return. A Booty pass attempt went through the hands of Vidal Hazelton. John David then tried to go down the right sideline but Mozique McCurtis had good coverage and turned around just in time to make the pick. Mark Sanchez came in and threw to Thomas Williams in the flat but Jeff Schweiger hustled over from his end position to drive Thomas out of bounds for no gain. Booty hit C.J. Gable with a screen pass and it was Keith Rivers who came up to deliver a solid hit. Booty threw to Gable on the other side of the field on the next play and it was Rey Maualuga coming over to wrap him up. The final play of the day was a nice completion from Sanchez to Patrick Turner.

One of the interesting things about today was how many players stayed after practice to get in some extra work. I can't remember the last time it was 30 minutes after a practice had ended and there were still 20 or more players on the field working on various drills. Sartz, Cushing, Luthur Brown and Nick Garratt were getting in some work in one corner. Several d-linemen and o-linemen were going through pass rush mechanics. Drew Radovich was engaged in a lengthy discussion with position coach Pat Ruel while Lenny Vandermade pulled Nick Howell aside for some pointers. On the far end of the field we saw Gable, Hazelton, Jamere Holland and Garrett Green working on pass patterns.

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