Day 4 Practice Notes

The USC Trojans weren't in full pads yet, but there was still plenty of hitting going on. Scout.com was there to bring you a look at Thursday's action.

It's not surprising that the defense might be ahead of the offense to this point with some very talented, experienced defenders returning for the Trojan defense. There was some intense hitting going on during Thursday's action, and it wasn't just the usual suspects making big plays; everyone was getting in on the action.

Standouts on defense on Thursday included safeties Will Harris and Josh Pinkard, and cornerbacks Terrell Thomas and Cary Harris got in on the action as well. Harris had the hit of the week against receiver Brad Walker. Harris closed down what looked to be a swing route on the line of scrimmage, and there was a resounding "ohhh" from the crowd has Harris introduced Walked to the ground.

Freshman Chris Gallipo continued to have a strong camp and looks to be pushing for playing time. Gallipo and fellow freshman Malcolm Smith made a formidable tandem on the third team defense.

The day didn't entirely belong to the defense though, while the back seven made several bonecrushing hits, the big men up front for USC showed well again today.

An anomaly has developed when watching one on one pass rush drills between the offensive and defensive linemen that bodes well for the Trojan offense. Without a doubt, the drill has a defensive feel to it. Picture 3rd and 15 with a defensive end matched up one on one with an offensive tackle. Throw in a stationary quarterback, and the offensive lineman is in big trouble.

That hasn't been the case this week with the Trojan offensive line. With the exception of Everson Griffen handily beating Butch Lewis, the USC offensive linemen dominated the defensive line in pass protection drills. They locked on to the oncoming defenders, used their hands well, and moved their feet extremely well to keep the imaginary quarterback safe from harm's way.

Further Notes:

*Sophomore receiver Damian Williams, while not cleared for contact, ran some routes for the first time today. Williams is recovering from surgery on both of his shoulders that he had after spring training.

*The Trojan tight ends and fullbacks continue to have big camps. True freshman Jordan Campbell has been running second team at fullback and has looked solid in the role.

*Backup quarterback Mark Sanchez has struggled a bit the past two days. He has not looked as sharp as one might expect, missing some short throws, and making some ill advised throws when his first option is covered.

*The center to quarterback exchange reared its ugly head during the first play from scrimmage in the rush drills. Good news though, it was the only fumbled snap of the day.

The Trojans hit the field on Friday in full pads before having two practices on Saturday.

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