Day 2 - morning practice

There was a lot of action in the Tuesday morning practice with ABC Sports announcer Dan Fouts watching from the sidelines taking notes in anticipation of the national television broadcast of the USC vs Auburn opener on September 2nd.

Spent a lot of time watching the defensive line going through their various drills. In one bag drill where the players were required to swim through a series of bags about five yards apart we saw Bernard Riley and Shaun Cody go through the drill at full speed with pretty flawness technique and then LaJuan Ramsey followed them and showed how much of a difference there is between a freshman and the other two stars as he looked as if he was going half speed in comparison. The scout team offense came over to go against the 1st defense and Mike Patterson simply exploded on the first play and caught Hershel Dennis for a loss. Patterson then beat Kurt Katnik again to trap Poston behind the line. Omar Nazel came off the end strong and knocked down a pass attempt from Morgan Craig before Poston had a nice run just to gain five yards against this defense. Cody provided a strong rush which forced an awkward pass that Melvin Simmons was able to easily knock down. Poston took a handoff and Lee Webb filled the hole nicely to hold the run to a one yard gain. Craig then completed a pass to Scott Huber who was guarded by Dallas Sartz and the play went for 8 yards. A pass attempt to walk-on Matt Haugen went incomplete when Sandy Fletcher came up and had the best pop of the drill and the ball fell to the ground. The next play was a beauty when Craig tried to throw a screen pass and Polamalu on a blitz went up high in the air and was able to come down with the interception. Chris Doyle jumped offsides at the thought of having to face Cody. Poston then ended the drill with a solid stiff arm against Cody but as he turned the corner Matt Grotegoed met him and caused a fumble. It's so nice to see Groots back on the field.

The d-line then headed to join a 7 on 7 run drill on Brian Kennedy Field. Fargas went up the middle and was met by Polamalu but for one of the few times it was actually Troy who went back a little after the contact. Cody got a good bull rush against Fred Matua but Malaefou MacKenzie read it well and was able to cut inside for a nice gain. Mike Patterson fought off Norm Katnik and stopped Poston for no gain and then BKU trapped Fargas behind the line for a loss. Bernard Riley came in but he couldn't get much of a push off his right leg and the coaches pulled him after only one play and sent him to the sidelines for the remainder of the day. Derek Graf had a good hook block against Patterson while Van Brown knocked Winston Justice backwards and proceeded to get McCullough for a loss. Anthony Daye was in the right position but just missed a tackle on Fargas and the play resulted in a long gain. Winston Justice did a god job against Danny Urquhart and Malaefou was able to gain six yards. Travis Tofi continued his good play as he got off the ball well and tackled Poston behind the line. Hershel Dennis followed a block from Norm Katnik for a touchdown run. Poston followed that play with a good ru that saw him bounce off the pile up the middle and dart outside for a sprint to the goal line and the TD. The coaches weren't too happy with some of the defenders who stopped on the play when Darryl looked like he was going to get stopped in the pile-up. Once again Cody beat Matua badly but the play called for Sultan to run to the left and he got a short gain and a solid stop by Simmons. Melvin then followed that up with another tackle when he filled on a MacKenzie run. Fargas ended the drill when he went behind a beautiful block from Jacob Rogers on Van Brown with the play going for a touchdown. Rogers has looked extremely good these first two days.

A passing drill was held on Howard Jones Field with two receivers going against one corner and one safety. Cassel got things started with a nice completion along the sidelines to Mike Williams against Ronald Nunn. Matt Leinart dropped back and quickly lost William Buchanan as an option when Polamalu gave him a bump that knocked William five yards off his route, Matt threw instead to an open Greig Carlson but the ball was dropped. Carson tried to hit Chris McFoy but Polamalu knocked the ball away on a good play. Leinart tried to hit Jason Mitchell on a deep pass but it was incomplete. Frank Candela made a very nice catch of a ball thrown behind him by Leinart for an 8 yard gain. Carson had to tuck the ball and run after good coverage by Rideaux and Allmond prevented a pass attempt. Cassel then stood back and fired a strike over the middle to Alex Holmes for a big gain. Leinart completed a pass to Carlson and then to a wide open McFoy after a blown coverage by Nunn.

Next came a 7 on 7 drill. Carson tried to hit Holmes but the pass was knocked away by Grootegoed. Carson went deep to Kareem Kelly but the ball was batted away on excellent coverage by Rideaux. Carson went to Doyal Butler who made the catch and picked up additional yardage after a nice open field block by Kareem Kelly on Dallas Sartz. Carson tried to hit Mike Williams on a deep fade and Williams had Marcell Allmond beat but as the ball came down Allmond was able to recover and knock the ball away as Mike was trying to bring it in. It was a good play by Marcell but the coaches also talked to Williams about the importance of making that catch and getting the 50 yard gain. Carson went to the deep pass again and this time Buchanan was able to beat Forrest Mozart and make the play. Carson went over the middle two plays in a row to Dominique Byrd and both passes were complete. Carson hit Mike Williams on a crossing route, Mike may be struggling a bit so far with his consistency in terms of catching the ball but the athleticism and size are clearly there. The coaches gave Mike a lot of reps this morning, not sure if Keary Colbert was banged up but Williams was working with the first team a lot with Kareem Kelly. Carson then completed a deep pass to William Buchanan right between the coverage of DeShaun Hill and Polamalu for a touchdown. The field goal unit then came on and David Davis made 5 of 7 kicks from various distances.

The final drill of the morning brought together the first offense and first defense in the middle of Howard Jones Field. Palmer dropped back on the first play and couldn't find anyone open, while he was waiting Polamalu came from the blind side on a blitz and knocked the ball away. Carson then hit Mattos who was quickly dragged down by Grootegoed. Carson hit Kareem on a nice comeback route along the sideline in front of Allmond. Cassel tried to hit Butler but the ball was dropped. Fargas broke a tackle attempt by Polamalu at the line and went for six yards. Carson hit Gregg Guenther who was brought down right away by Kenechi Udeze who had dropped back into coverage. Carson rolled out and hit Guenther again and Gregg did a good job of covering both hands around the football as Simmons came up for the tackle. Cassel and Fargas fumbled a handoff exchange with the ball being picked up by Jason Leach who was quickly tackled by Cassel. Cassel then dropped back and had all day to throw, he was able to set himself and fire a strike over the middle to Mike Williams for 27 yards. Cassel's next pass attempt was knocked to the ground by Urquhart. Fargas had a run off tackle and was met after a short gain with a solid tackle by Nunn. Leinart pitched the ball to Hershel Dennis but the ball was fumbled with Hershel falling on it right away. Cassel tried to hit Williams in the flat but Miguel Fletcher made an excellent play to knock the ball away. Cassel hit Alex Holmes along the sideline for 12 yards and then Leinart threw a strike to Mike Williams on a deep out pattern but the ball was dropped. MacKenzie took a pitch, got outside and delivered a blow to Allmond when he came up to make the tackle. Cassel threw a short pass to Brandon Hancock who read a downfield block by Mattos on Allmond for a nice pick-up. Leinart finished the day by dropping back and having plenty of time thanks to a good pass block by Dennis which gave Matt enough time to hit Kelly for 20 yards.


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