It was technically a walk-thru but don't tell that to Brian Cushing, who was flying all over the field. You could feel the excitement in the air as soon as the gates opened. The morning walk-thru was split into two separate sessions, one for the freshman and one for the returning players. Below are notes from Howard Jones Field:
- Coach Norton and Coach McNair got the team energized from the first whistle, debating if USC was Tailback U or Linebacker U. Coach Norton was letting the running backs have it screaming out, "Reggie Bush left two years ago." The competition between the running backs and linebackers really sets the tone at practice.
- Josh Pinkard, Kevin Thomas and Averell Spicer all went through the full walk-thru this morning and looked very good. Kevin Thomas appears to be fully healthy, while the coaches are going to be a little more cautious with Spicer and Pinkard.
- Pinkard stayed after practice to get some extra stretching.
- Spicer took part in the team period, which is a good sign, and rotated with Christian Tupou at the defensive tackle spot.
- Freshman linebacker Uona Kaveinga was the only freshman that I saw working with the veterans today. With the injury to Chris Galippo, Kaveinga could see some action this season at middle linebacker.
- Brian Cushing really looks like he is ready to have a big senior season. At the Pac-10 Media Day Coach Carroll talked about Cushing's maturity and leadership and it really showed today. He was one of the hardest working players on the field. Cushing and Rey Maualuga were two of the last players to leave the practice field, which is a great example for the younger players.
- It was nice to see Coach Watson back on the field today working up a sweat as he coached the defensive linemen.
- At most schools the first walk-thru is a slow-paced practice where the players ease back into things, but not at USC. The walk-thru today was up-tempo with players and coaches flying from drill to drill. The attention to detail and up to the second planning was evident today as there was no wasted time.
- Another thing I noticed was what great shape the players are in which is a big testament to the job that Coach Carlisle and the strength staff do at USC. The Trojans don't spend time on conditioning drills after practice because the pace of the practice and drills are so intense.
The team will return for the first real practice of camp today at 5:30. Stay tuned to SCPlaybook for regular updates from the practice field.
USC Offensive Line Coach Pat Ruel gets fired up.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden