Photo Report 2 - USC Practice Day 2
There are exceptions to every rule. The rule says that 6-4 and 235 pound defenders play linebacker. Some starting defensive ends in D1 football aren't that big. Taylor Mays is the exception to the rule. It takes a freak to play safety at that size. Taylor Mays is a freak.
There is a line between being unfair to a player by placing unrealistic expectations on him and giving an honest opinion about how the player looks on the field. That line is nearly impossible to not cross when watching Joe McKnight. Yes, the true freshman who was ranked Scout.com's #1 running back for the Class of 2007 has been that impressive so far.
We'll wait and see what happens when the pads come on before officially using the Reggie Bush comparisons.
McKnight comes out of the backfield, as quarterback Mitch Mustain scans his options downfield.
David Ausberry and Vidal Hazelton represent nearly 450 pounds of wide receiver lined up in a stack formation here. No. 9 Ausberry (6-4/225) and Hazelton (6-3/215) pose serious matchup problems for defensive backs.
The pads haven't come on yet, but Ausberry has good reason to be all smiles. The redshirt freshman has looked tremendous the first two days of camp, and he is making his case early this summer for extended playing time this fall.
Freshman Ronald Johnson looks in a pass on a slant route. At 6-1 and 190 pounds, Johnson is one of the "smaller" receivers on the field. He represents a change of pace capable of playing in the slot and making defenders miss.
Gerald Washington goes airborne to block the passing lane. Washington has looked good backing up Kyle Moore at defensive end during the Trojans' first two practices.
Everson "Guppy" Griffen takes a breather between drills. Griffen is one true freshman that is going to be virtually impossible to keep off the field this year. Scout.com's #1 prospect for the Class of 2007 is on a steep learning curve amongst the men of the defensive line, but he has more than held his own to this point.
Everson Griffen in pursuit of the ball carrier as the Trojans wrapped up Tuesday evening's practice running 11 vs 11.
Griffen flushes backup quarterback Mark Sanchez out of the pocket. Sanchez showed good mobility and was able to make a play downfield.
John David Booty is a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. That's a testament to the ample supply of young wide receivers that are expected to step up and fill the shoes of Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith who were selected in April's draft. Looking at the roster and seeing Scout.com's #1 receiver from the Class of 2005 (Patrick Turner) and 2006 (Vidal Hazelton), not to mention players like Jamere Holland, David Ausberry, and Ronald Johnson among others, it's easy to see why the Trojans don't expect to see a drastic drop off at the position despite losing two draft picks.
Patrick Turner is being heavily counted on to be a leader at the wide receiver position.
The early returns on Turner this summer have been good; all that was left of him was the back of his jersey a fade to the endzone.
Lawrence Jackson is heading into his senior campaign as the starter at defensive end. He has shown no ill effects of his ankle surgery prior to spring practice earlier this year.
225 Pounds of Kevin Ellison has made sure that there is more than one #4 catching people's eyes at practice so far.
"Always be Productive". That's the mantra heard near the linebackers from high energy Ken Norton Jr. Norton has the enviable task of molding what is widely considered the nation's finest linebacker corp. consisting of Keith Rivers, Brian Cushing, and Ray Maualuga.
A quick look at Rivers as he looks a ball in warming up on Tuesday.
Josh Pinkard (#36) is congratulated by Ellison after making a good play breaking up a pass over the middle.
A player with the mobility of starting guard Jeff Byers gives offenses a lot of options. Byers was seen getting past the first (defensive line) and second (linebackers) level of defenders in order to put a hat on one of the Trojan safeties. The defensive back looked surprised to see that Byers had gotten there so quickly. Opposing defenders won't have the luxury of having Byers pull up before burying them in the turf.
Redshirt sophomore Mark Sanchez has shown an excellent command of the offense, a strong arm, and very good mobility.
Sanchez surveys the defense during 11 v 11.
Senior Cornerback Terrell Thomas has had a very good opening week of practice as well. He goes high here to break up a pass.
Head Coach Pete Carroll is hands on as he demonstrates a jamming technique to the defensive backs.
Fili Moala went down late in Tuesday's practice with leg cramps, but the big defensive tackle looks more than ready to continue the good work he started as a sophomore when he started USC's last seven games as a sophomore.
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