Wednesday practice report

After several players sat out with injury the day before, the Trojans returned to practice Wednesday reenergized, and looked strong in the lead-up to their showdown with Cal on Saturday.

John David Booty looked especially sharp. He looks like he's gained a lot of confidence as the season rolls along, and he's taking more chances down the field.

Chauncey Washington, who is nursing a sprained left knee, once again didn't practice. It was the third straight day he was sidelined, although there's little doubt that he'll be on the field come game time.

I also noticed that Lawrence Jackson also sat out practice. Word was that he hurt his back while weightlifting, but he's still expected to play against the Golden Bears.

It was obvious today that Allen Bradford has taken over the fullback role. The Trojans ran a lot of run plays with the tailback lined up behind him, and the converted linebacker seemed adept at picking up that first blocker in the backfield.

Rey Maualuga, who also has been hampered by his left knee, returned to practice and seemed to be his usual self, going full speed from sideline to sideline.

Sedrick Ellis also returned after sitting out Tuesday's practice to recover from the bangs and bruises that come with any collegiate season. He made it through the whole practice and looked solid as ever.

Chris McFoy, who hasn't played since injuring his shoulder during the Washington State game, will once again sit out against Cal. He should be back against Notre Dame on Nov. 25.

The first-team offense often featured Dwayne Jarrett, Patrick Turner, Dale Thompson, Allen Bradford, and CJ Gable on the field at the same time, with Steve Smith watching from the sidelines. Steve Smith looked very slowed by injury and sat out of team drills.

It looks like the Trojans are experimenting with a variety of sets when it comes to receivers. At times there all four of the Trojans' vaunted receivers – Hazelton, Turner, Jarrett and Travon Patterson – were lined up at the same time. The offense spent half of the service team in a no huddle with Booty calling the plays at the line of scrimmage. CJ Gable threw a pass to Patrick Turner off of a toss play.

On the defensive side of the ball, Maualuga and Taylor Mays really stood out. They're comfortable with all their reads and are really unleashing their athleticism.

The defense spent nearly half the practice defending screens, trick plays and bootleg passes. Maybe Coach Carroll has noticed some tendencies in Jeff Tedford's game-planning. There seem to be a lot of max blitzes.

The practice ended with Mark Sanchez taking over. He connected on deep passes to Fred Davis and David Ausberry, and threw a couple bullets on deep out routes. He's looked really impressive in recent weeks, and I think it's safe to say the Trojans are secure for the next four years with Booty and then Sanchez at the helm.


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