Walking to the football field for Day 14, more signs that the season is fast
approaching became quite apparent. Looking unto adjacent Cromwell Field, section
leaders for the Trojan Marching Band were gathered in a circle as the sound of
Trojan music filled the air. The sound of Trojan Football is taking shape. More
signs of impending Trojan Football: there are more students on campus, bicycle
traffic, foot traffic and some students attended practice.
The Weather Report
Before checking into practice, weather.com stated that the temperature was 88 degrees but felt like 89. I'm not quite sure who is doing the feeling here, but the field felt like 125 degrees. But why split hairs? Across the entrance of Goux Gate sat two Los Angeles Fire Department trucks. Three firemen stood at the entrance and four others stood on the field observing the football team. One could infer the Fire Department was there to do something about the stifling heat. They left after a short while, though.
4:00 Practice Begins
While most players are on the field before official practice commences, when the 4:00 whistle blew, the team started warm up exercises and drills. On special teams, with Will Collins and Christian Putnam snapping, Greg Woidneck and Billy O'Malley blasted punts skyward. Desmond Reed, Brandon Carswell and Ronald Johnson took turns fielding. Meanwhile, David Buehler Joe Houston and Brad Smith quietly went about placekicking exercises.
4:17 and 4:27
At 4:17 pm, the drumline marched down McClintock, playing cadences that escalated the feeling of Trojan Football Tradition. The reverie and history of Trojan Football is brought to mind as the drums beat louder each passing moment. Back on the field, technique was being drilled. Punt returns, kick returns, defense, running and passing continued to be exercised. At 4:27 "Conquest!" began to play, and Trojan Football felt even closer. Less than two weeks to opening kickoff.
Who's Here and Who's Not
Drew Radovich, Brandon Carswell and Luther Brown are in uniform and took part
in various forms of practice. Sam Baker was dressed as well but did not
participate in contact. Michael Reardon, Travon Patterson and Joe McKnight were
present, but not dressed for practice.
USCTrojans.com reported late Sunday night that Jamere Holland had been dismissed from the team.
Much of the afternoon was spent doing drills and sharpening technique. Squads were split into 1st and 2nd units on separate fields. Against the 1st team defense, Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain got a lot of reps, with Broderick Green getting the workhorse carries. Mitch Mustain threw a pass that Cary Harris intercepted.
Going into the 7-on-7 exercises, the 1st team offense and defense paired up.
John David Booty's passes to Patrick Turner were crisp, and David Ausberry had a
nice reception in coverage. Michael McDonald and Aaron Corp got some time in as
well. Corp threw a precision pass to the newest wide receiver weapon, Garrett Green.
Green has shown promise as a wide out. On a pass from Corp to Carswell, Clay Matthews tipped the pass, and Carswell had the concentration to make a spectacular catch inches from the ground. On the last play of this session, Chris Galippo showed again why he is so highly regarded, closing with an interception.
Punting and Field Goals
Punts were practiced with C.J. Gable and Ronald Johnson fielding the receptions. The team then moved into Field Goal practice, with Buehler kicking two good attempts from the 15 and the 23 yard lines. Joe Houston then kicked a successful field goal from the 27, followed by a successful kick by Buehler from the 32 yard marker. Houston missed his final attempt from the 37 yard line.
The first team offense continued to improve against the first team defense. For much of Camp, the first defense had stifled John David Booty and company. After a series of plays, some of the highlights includes: a 12 yard reception from Booty to Brad Walker, a 16 yard touchdown catch by Vidal Hazelton, and a nice grab on the sidelines by Fred Davis.
The second team offense, led by Michael McDonald had a series of downs. In this series, Walker again had a big catch, Ausberry made a flashy catch in tight coverage, and Jimmy Miller impressed with a two handed grab up the middle. The series ended with Kaluka Maiava making a spectacular interception, drawing praise from spectators.
Booty's team took the field again with Chauncey Washington gaining significant yardage along the sideline followed by a sack by Kyle Moore. Booty then did a bootleg to his right and completed the pass to a steamrolling Fred Davis down the sideline. On the last play of this series Booty passed to Allen Bradford for a short gain.
McDonald's squad took the field again and ran a series of short yardage plays, including a pitch out to Stafon Johnson, pass to Desmond Reed, a bootleg for some yardage gained by McDonald, a handoff to C.J. Gable, an unsuccessful bootleg and finally a pass broken up by Mozique McCurtis, just barely missing an interception.
When Booty returned for his final series, it was the Desmond Reed show. David Ausberry caught a tight pass in double coverage. This was followed up with two incomplete passes to and two handoffs to Reed. After a brief stop in play, Reed took it up the middle for a 10 yard gain. Finally, Reed caught a short pass to end the day's work for the 1st team.
McDonald then came on the field for the last series of the day. The first play was a handoff to Stafon Johnson for a touchdown, followed by a completed pass to Carswell. The day ended with two short yardage handoffs.
As the season opener with Idaho approaches, security measures have increased. Practices are still open to the public, but photographs are now allowed to be taken by the press only, and team managers are making it clear no photography and video is allowed. Spectators are being told to turn off cell phones while practice is in session.