While the anticipation of the Salute to Troy festivities increased as the day
wore on, it was all business at the football field. Friday's practice focused on
drills and technique. When the practice whistle sounded, the team divided into
groups, drilling fundamentals.
Special Teams are getting a lot of attention this year, and the results look promising. Greg Woidneck and Billy O'Malley are putting some air under the ball, and David Buehler has a very strong leg.
Defensive line note for the day, Kyle Moore and Everson Griffen were paired up for many of the drills; they appear to have put the bickering of last week behind them.
9 on 7's
On the short field, the defense got the better of the offense. Brian Cushing paired with Lawrence Jackson then Sedrick Ellis on consecutive downs to stop Broderick Green in the backfield for loss of yardage. Kaluka Maiava got in on the action and had three stops on running backs for little or no gain.
Once again the team divided into split squads, 1st team offense against 2nd team defense on one field and 2nd team offense on 1st team defense on the other. While defense wins championships, offense can be glamorous. I chose to watch the 1st team offense, and was not disappointed.
John David Booty looked impressive in this exercise, completing passes to David Ausberry, Anthony McCoy, Fred Davis, Patrick Turner, Desmond Reed, and finally Ronald Johnson for a long touchdown. Handoffs were distributed to Stanley Havili, Stafon Johnson, Reed and Broderick Green. Green and Reed ripped off a pair of long dashes.
Hershel Dennis practiced receiving punts. He did not wear a helmet, but it
was a pleasant surprise having Dennis catching balls and practicing running on
Former Trojan wide receiver Joe Cormier watched practice with his family. Ran into John "Squeeze" Kamana III, who played fullback, wide receiver and tight end for John Robinson's team in the early 1980's. Kamana actually was known as a "V-back," a position originally played by Vick Rakshani and popularized by John Robinson. The V-back was a hybrid tight end/fullback.
Mark Boyer, a tight end also watched practice with his family. Apparently Cormier, Kamana and Boyer were on-hand as representatives of the 1982 USC football team skippered by Robinson.
End of Practice
The day ended with full squads, 1st team offense against 1st team defense and 2nd teamers pitted against each other. There were a number of excellent plays on both sides of the ball, but the most significant plays were Josh Pinkard and Terrell Thomas intercepting Booty passes. Prior to today, Booty had gone for over 400 passes and 23 practice sessions without a pick. All good things must come to an end.