Friday practice recap

Click below for a recap of the Friday afternoon practice as the Trojans prepare for the annual Salute to Troy event later tonight.

The first thing that was noticeable today was how much good news we had in terms of injured players returning to the practice field. Aaron Graham was one of the first players out on the field and he said he woke up this morning and felt fine even though he was worried about it last night. He didn't go through drills but is only expected to be out a day or two. Then Justin Fargas headed over to Brian Kennedy Field with a trainer to do some light running and stretching. He has been doing some hamstring exercises with a special trainer and looked just fine, the word is that Justin could come back to practice as early as Sunday or Monday. Matt Cassel headed out with the quarterbacks for their opening round of throwing and his drop back showed no sign of any injury. His arm strength looked good as well and Matt should be returning to action any day now. Darryl Poston went through early drills and he was running a little tentative but Chad Pierson and Sultan McCullough took an active role in the scrimmage session and performed well. Sultan made one cut in particular that was really good to see because he showed no ill effects from the hamstring.

It wouldn't have been a fall camp practice for the Trojans, however, if at least one player didn't leave the field with an injury and today it was Derek Graf who left early with an ice pack on his right hand. I didn't see the drill so not sure what happened but he told one person as he was walking out that he would be fine.

Tom Malone had his best day of fall camp during an extended punt session at the beginning of practice. There were a few misses but for the most part Tom did a terrific job of working on his hang time with several punts that were over 5.0 seconds in the air.

Lofa Tatupu is wearing #58 at practice.

In a kickoff return drill we saw the following players as return men; Malaefou, Hershel, Mitchell, Rideaux and Sultan. It was interesting that when the punt return was practiced we didn't see Kareem in the drill, it was Carlson as the primary guy and Kelly wasn't in the rotation.

Troy Polamalu went through the tall bag drills again with the defensive linemen, just as he had done a few days ago.

In one scrimmage drill that emphasized passing we saw Carson get things started with a completion over the middle to Mike Williams with good coverage by Rideaux. Carson threw a nice ball to Williams but Buchanan was in good coverage and the ball was dropped. Carson threw high to Colbert, a catchable ball but it also was dropped. Sultan had a good run when he followed a Winston Justice block on Dom Byrd for six yards. Shaun Cody came on the next play for a sack but they let CP throw and he completed the pass to Hancock for a 17 yard gain. Carson completed a pass to Alex Holmes for four yards before an Oscar Lua tackle. Leinart tried a pass to Hancock who almost made an excellent one handed catch. Carson completed a pass to Mike Williams after he had a good push off the line on John Walker that staggered Walker and gave Williams enough cushion to make the catch. Carson hit Jason Mitchell for 15 yards with a stop by Sandy Fletcher, Sandy got the start at free safety in several of the drills today. Carson hit Gregg Guenther with coverage by Grootegoed and the play went for six yards. Leinart rolled out and threw a little late along the sideline to Mitchell and William Buchanan made a real nice diving play to knock the ball away. Buchanan looked better at corner today than we had seen from him at just about any time at wide receiver. Carson hit Holmes for a short pass with Collin Ashton stopping the play after six yards. One of the best passes of the day came from Palmer who hit Kelly in the open space of the defense with an excellent timing pattern that went for 25 yards. A Palmer pass to Guenther was bobbled and Dallas Sartz came out of the pile with the ball. Carson then dropped back for what was supposed to be a short pass to MacKenzie but Troy Polamalu was shadowing Mal and Carson was forced to tuck and run. Leinart came on and tried to throw a slant to Kareem but Darrell Rideaux read it well and stepped in front to knock the ball down and almost come away with a pick. Ryan Kileen got some kicks with David Davis sitting out practice to rest his leg, Kileen looked good but he barely missed a 47 yarder on his longest attempt.

A Carson pass to Kelly was thrown early because Jason Leach had good pressure and Udeze was able to make a quick tackle on Kareem. Mike Williams tried to push off Darrell Rideaux at the line and it worked for a moment but when the Carson pass headed to the sideline Darrell showed his impressive closing speed and was able to knock the ball down. A Palmer screen to McCullough was stopped by Dom Byrd for no gain. Carson then threw to Hancock for seven yards before an Otani tackle and the play worked because of a good pass block by Sultan on Leach. Leinart dropped back with a Hancock block on Nazel which allowed him to step up and complete the pass to Kareem for 8 yards. Carson saw Malaefou being covered by Dallas Sartz and Dallas was late on his assignment for an 8 yard gain on the play. Leinart completed a pass to Hancock and he went down after contact with Buchanan but you can't really say that William tackled Brandon, instead William just kind of got in the way and Brandon went down as he was bowling him over. Leinart completed a pass to Mike Williams with Otani and Sartz coming for the tackle but Williams was able to break free for extra yardage. Carson went to Holmes for eight yards.

Carson threw a ball high that Williams went up and got against Buchanan, it was simply a terrific catch. Polamalu came on a blitz and knocked down a Palmer pass. Shaun Cody got a sack on Palmer when he absolutely bullrushed and beat a double team from Eaves and Watkins. A Leinart pass to Carlson was dropped. Carson completed a pass to McCullough who was popped strongly by John Walker and then Carson went to the end zone with a pass that was a little high but fortunately the intended receiver was Guenther and he came down with the ball for a touchdown.

Leinart came right back and tried to go to the end zone as well and his pass to Williams was accurate but Sandy Fletcher arrived at the same time as the ball and forced the incompletion. Cody and Polamalu combined on a sack. Sultan had one nice run and then he ran up the middle and was tripped up at the line by Travis Tofi. When Tofi adds weight and learns how to play the game he's going to be a force. Leinart then dropped back and hit Williams in the end zone over Wyatt for a touchdown.

Lee Webb got a sack on Carson and Sultan had a real nice run that saw him make a cutback toward the middle at good speed.


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