Sunday Practice: First Day in Pads

You could feel the excitement in the air at Howard Jones Field as fans lined the sidelines to get a look at the Trojans first practice in pads. Look inside for all the news and notes from Sunday's practice.

Trojans Attract Big Crowd

While most coaches around the nation try to keep as many people out of practice as possible, Pete Carroll feels that having open practices can only help prepare the Trojans to play in front of 92,000 fans at the Coliseum.

"They can feel what it's like in a game and that's good," Carroll said of having big crowds at practice. "We are trying to get ready for a game and this adds to the atmosphere and environment."

The Trojans had by far the largest crowd of the fall on hand for the first practice in pads and the players seemed to feed off the energy of the fans.

"What this did tonight is it added atmosphere," said Carroll, who regularly encourages USC fans to come out and watch practice. "We had a big night. It was fun for everybody and our guys are performing."

Shoemate Impresses Carroll

In the first practice in pads, it was a very physical freshman that caught the eye of USC Head Coach Pete Carroll.

"D.J. Shoemate made a big-time impression tonight," Pete Carroll after the Trojans' Sunday night practice.

Shoemate is a hard-nosed football player that played multiple positions in high school and he showed off his toughness on several occasions Sunday, including an impressive run after the catch in which he ran through a tackle attempt by Omari Crittenden.

"He played great. He was running and hitting and made a couple tough catches," Carroll said. "That's what you hope to see on a night like this."

Big Leg Buehler

USC kicker David Buehler continued his tremendous first week of practice by connecting on a 54-yard field goal attempt.

"We normally don't take shots like that but if we need it we got it," Carroll said about Buehler's 54-yard field goal. Buehler also made field goals of 30 and 44 yards.

Recruit Watch

Recruits in Attendance:

Kevin Graf – USC commit Kevin Graf is Scout's top-rated offensive lineman on the West Coast.

Morrell Presley – Presley is the top-rated tight end in the nation by Scout.

Byron Moore – The talented safety from Narbonne High School has been a frequent visitor at USC practices this fall.

Patrick Hall – USC commit Patrick Hall has the ability to play safety or running back on the college level.

Dietrich Riley – 2010 defensive back prospect Dietrich Riley already has offers from USC and UCLA.

Justin Brown – Three-star defensive tackle from Compton High School has high interest in USC.

Sean Parker – Parker is a hard-hitting safety from Narbonne High School that will be one of the top defensive back recruits on the West Coast in the 2010 class.

Notes from the Field

Freshman Cornerback T.J. Bryant was back in action Sunday Night. Bryant has been impressive this fall and is a real natural cover corner.

Kyle Moore, Michael Morgan, Clay Matthews and Armond Armstead all had quarterback sacks. Armstead also had a pass deflection.

Catch of the Day: Patrick Turner had the catch of the day when he elevated above Shareece Wright in the corner of the end zone and pulled in a pass from Aaron Corp for a touchdown. After making the catch the entire offense ran over to Turner to celebrate.

Hit of the Day: USC cornerback Kevin Thomas supplied the biggest hit on the first day in pads. Thomas delivered a blindside hit on wide receiver Vidal Hazelton when Hazelton tried to turn up field with the ball.

C.J. Gable had one of the big plays of the night when he raced up the middle and juked defenders on his way to a 30-yard gain.

USC junior safety Taylor Mays showed off his incredible speed by chasing down Travon Patterson from behind after Patterson broke free of the defense. Mays ability to catch Patterson was a truly amazing play.

Jordan Cameron made another leaping catch on a high pass from Garret Green. Cameron has had at least one leaping catch at every practice this fall.

Freshman tight end Blake Ayles caught a touchdown pass from Garrett Green and also showed off his blocking ability by manhandling Nick Garratt twice in a row during pass protection drills.

Freshman Malik Jackson has been receiving praise from Coach Carroll lately with his pass rushing ability. Jackson recovered a fumble on Sunday night.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden
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