Spring Ball Day One

It was a very crisp practice today, both in terms of weather and execution by the Trojans as the team went through a good practice on the opening day of spring ball drills. There was a lot to see and here are a few quick thoughts:

* All the quarterbacks had their moments looking good. Cassel looked sharp, he's in really good shape and his arm was solid. Brandon Hance showed good creativity on a couple plays but there were also a couple throws where the arm strength just wasn't there. Matt Leinart showed more zip on his slant passes than we've seen from him in recent years. Billy Hart probably executed the screen passes as well as any QB today with his ability to make accurate throws.

* Hershel Dennis was outstanding. He showed speed, cut moves and generally ran like a man who is ready to assume the role of USC Trojan tailback. Walk-on Andre Woodert was the only other TB.

* Darnell Bing didn't take any snaps at RB during the practice but he did stay afterwards to get a few pointers from Kennedy Pola. It was great to see Darnell out there in a Trojan uniform although Mike Garrett, who was in attendance at practice, commented that he remembered the last #20 being a little bigger and faster.

* Keary Colbert and Mike Williams (really cut and muscular) both looked good, no surprise there, but a couple pleasant surprises at WR today were Chris McFoy and Justin Wyatt. McFoy has such long arms and he had an excellent first part of the practice catching the ball even though he did drop one later in the 7 on 7 skeleton drill. Wyatt caught a pass in the same drill and put a couple unbelievable shake moves on defenders that had the offense howling on the sideline. William Buchanan took some grief from his fellow DB's when he came to the sideline after grasping nothing but air on the Wyatt moves.

* What a difference we see in the offensive line. These are some horses out there. All the starters made the practice with Rogers looking very big. Winston Justice had his shoulder taped up and he alternated at RT with Kyle Williams who had a terrific practice. Kyle was dominant in one blocking drill and looked to be playing with more confidence. It was great to see Lenny Vandermade back on the field and Fred Matua was getting a lot of pointers from Tim Davis on blocking in the open field on screen plays.

* Alex Holmes was the first player on the field for today's practice and he has really developed a powerful upper body this year. It's not like Alex was small before but he's noticeably bigger now.

* I saw good things from all the starting DL as well, La Juan Ramsey in particular looked quick off the ball. Udeze dominated one running drill. Frostee Rucker played exclusively at DE today and he practices at a high level of intensity.

* Lofa Tatupu got the reps at MLB with Groots and Champ on either side. One guy who really stood out today was Dallas Sartz who had a nice interception and a sack.

* It looked very familiar to see #43 running around at safety with dreadlocks flowing out of the back of his helmet but now it's Mike Ross back there after Mike switched jersey numbers in honor of Troy Polamalu. Darnell Bing was active, can't wait to see him in full pads. He looks to be in terrific shape and was getting a lot of coaching from Rocky Seto. Kevin Arbet was solid but I didn't see too much of Ronald Nunn out there so we'll keep an eye out for him next practice.

* The punt returners were Arbet, Carlson, Wyatt and both Tings.

A couple number changes: Hershel to 34, Mike Ross to 43, Lua to 45.

Drew Radovich, Ryan Kalil and Fili Moala were all in attendance as was Carson OL/DL Norris Malele.

A few of the highlight plays on the day included:

* On back to back plays McFoy made a nice catch to draw applause from PC and then D Hale made a terrific catch of a slant pass thrown behind him.

* Cassel hit Kirtman with a pass in the flat for a 20 yard gain.

* Hershel put a great move on Jason Leach to gain extra yardage.

* Norm Katnik did a good job stopping Mike Patterson in a blocking drill.

* Hance stayed in the pocket and hit Wyatt with a pass along the sidelines, a very nice throw.

It was the type of opening practice we would hope to see from an 11-2 football team, a great way to start the spring.


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