Photo Report - USC Practice Begins
It's been a lot of hard work during the offseason, and the season is finally here. The 2007 Trojans gather as a group to kick off practice.
Former USC linebacker Rocky Seto leads the defense on to the field to start practice. Seto is in his eighth year on the USC staff, including his fourth as a full-time assistant. He took over handling of the secondary in 2006 after being in charge of the linebackers in 2004 and 2005 and the safeties in 2003.
Senior quarterback John David Booty looked smooth in the first day of practice. In what seems to be a right of passage for USC quarterbacks, Booty is a front runner for the Heisman Trophy this year and has a lot of weapons at his disposal.
Booty finds fullback Stanley Havilli after a play action fake.
Next in Line? Mark Sanchez has all of the tools to help USC re-load when Booty moves on after this season. He should see a lot of action in mop-up duty as USC will blow several teams out this year.
When there are as many athletes on the field at one time as there are at USC, it's hard for a player to separate himself amongst dozens of former All-Americans. Even harder for a freshman to do it during the first day of practice.
Joe McKnight did it.
Scout.com's No. 1 running back in the Class of 2007 is going to be nearly impossible to keep off the field, and it looks like the Trojan coaches are going to give him every opportunity to play this year. McKnight had several big runs and even lined up some at wide receiver. It was only shells, but this is a player that looks like he'll have no trouble living up to the hype.
Defensive Line Coach David Watson had his game face on as he and his linemen staid intense the entire practice.
Watson's intensity is contagious as starting defensive Kyle Moore did everything full speed on Monday. Moore is a player that grabs an onlooker's attention with his size, athleticism, and intensity.
Everson Griffen was Scout.com's No. 1 prospect in the entire country in the Class of 2007. He looks on to the practice field as he waits his turn. Griffen saw a lot of work today and should challenge for playing time.
One of the aspects that makes Griffen so special is his speed. On this play, he trailed a tight end in zone coverage nearly 40 yards down the field. He jogs back to the huddle after the defense held the offense to an incomplete.
Listed as the No. 2 defensive end behind Moore, Gerald Washington had his eye on the ball in practice on Monday.
On a team full of long, lean defensive linemen, senior nose tackle Sedrick Ellis looks to be extra valuable as a true wide body (6-2/305) capable of stuffing a double team in running situations.
Vidal Hazelton saw time as a freshman, but with Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith now off to the NFL, Hazelton is poised for a monster sophomore season.
Hazelton isn't alone in being ready to shine. Another former No. 1 wide receiver, Patrick Turner has the frame of a tight end and the skills of a wide receiver. Hazelton and Turner will be counted on heavily to step up big if the Trojans are to make another BCS Title run.
It was a drill to get warmed up, but redshirt freshman David Ausberry made the catch of the day when he went high and wide to snag this errant throw. Ausberry had arguably the best day overall of the wide receivers in the Trojans' first day of practice.
At 6-4 and 225 pounds, Ausberry is a formidable foe for opposing defensive backs.
Not wanting to be shown up by Ausberry, fellow redshirt freshman Jamere Holland goes high for one of his own.
Arkansas transfer Damian Williams squints in the bright southern California sunshine. Williams will sit out this season as a transfer, and be eligible to play as a redshirt sophomore in 2008 with three years left of eligibility.
Williams' teammate at both Arkansas and Springdale High School, Mitch Mustain, looked comfortable in sunny California after a rather hectic past 18 months.
Sophomore running back C.J. Gable takes a handoff up the middle.
Junior Linebacker Brian Cushing had a solid day of practice on Monday, including this interception that he got his hands on after a ball was batted.
While he struggled at times with his consistency, sophomore tight end Anthony McCoy has the look of a future star.
Because we're bigger than you, and we'll shave when we feel like it. Trojan starting tackles Drew Radovich (stubble) and Sam Baker (hairy).
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