Spring Ball Day 4

It was the first day in pads for the Trojans and Coach Carroll put the team through a long practice which featured several scrimmage situations. There was also a large crowd on hand of Trojan fans, signees and recruits. The offense had a good showing. Normally the defense dominates early spring drills and our defense certainly did it's share of damage but we also had success at times on offense, primarily in the passing game. Some of the highlights from the practice included:

Some of the highlights from the practice included:

On the 2nd play of the day Jason Leach popped Jason Mitchell with a tremendous hit to separate the ball for an incomplete pass. A few plays later LaJuan Ramsey got into the backfield quickly and nailed Hershel Dennis for a four yard loss. Ramsey is a thick man and he's going to be a vital part of the DT rotation. Matt Cassel had the first nice throw of the day for a quarterback when he put a beautiful over the shoulder pass to Mike Williams along the sideline for 30 yards. Cassel looked good and BMW was BMW. Frostee Rucker got a sack on Cassel from his spot backing up Omar Nazel. Mike Ross picked off a pass from Brandon Hance that can be described as a duck, it was obvious at times that Brandon still is not at 100% arm strength but he did engineer one very nice drive later in the day. The guy has playmaking skills and he'll definitely be in the mix for the starting job before all is said and done. Dennis scooted behind a block from Lenny Vandermade for 20 yards before a tackle by Darnell Bing.

A 7 on 7 drill was held and Alex Holmes caught a touchdown pass despite a tackle attempt near the goal line from Kyle Matthews that was unsuccessful. Cassel hit Wyatt with a nice completion and Matt Grootegoed made his presence felt with a hit on D Hale in the end zone to break up a pass.

Another scrimmage began with Billy Hart at QB and he hit Holmes for a good gain with extra yardage provided after he bounced off a tackle attempt from Groots. Alex could be a major factor in the offense this season, he's having a very good spring. Hance came in and hit BMW on a slant with Danny Urquhart ready to make the play but Williams side-stepped him to gain a few more yards. Hance hit Dom Byrd who has shown good athleticism and he got 12 on the play before a huge hit from Bing. Hance moved around well in the pocket to buy time on another play and hit Williams for only a short gain but it was better than a sack with Frostee breathing down his neck. Travis Tofi made a terrific play when he tackled Hershel behind the line for a 3-yard line on a run up the middle.

Matt Cassel came in for the next series and immediately hit Keary Colbert on a slant that got turned up field for a nice gain. Colbert is solid and he'll be a real leader of the team this season. Cassel rolled right and threw a pass but it was a great play by a leaping Mike Ross to knock the ball away. Darnell Bing entered the offensive huddle at TB. Cassel threw to BMW for a 35 yard touchdown and a penalty made it a very long PAT but Kileen drilled it straight through the uprights.

The first run by Bing was a pleasure to watch. He took the ball and headed to the right before turning his shoulders near the sidelines, breaking a few tackles and getting downfield for a 20 yard gain. All of a sudden those who had never seen Bing before understood what all the fuss was about. He's simply a big man with speed who has a fluid running motion and is comfortable on either side of the ball. Matt Leinart was at QB and he was picked early by Chris Bocage. Matt has really increased his arm strength and looks relaxed on the field. He shook off the interception by coming back to Williams (smart QB) for a quick out pattern. Bing took another handoff and broke a tackle attempt from Urquhart before the other members of the Trojan defense swarmed for no gain on the play. Leinart tried to hit Wyatt coming across the middle but the ball was juggled and then picked by Dallas Sartz. LaJuan Ramsey made another strong impression when Bing went up the middle on a run and LaJuan met him with a huge hit and a two yard loss.

Billy Hart came on at QB and he immediately went to Wyatt but Ryan Ting came up to make the tackle and stripped the ball at the same time. Sandy Fletcher recovered for the offense. The Tings struggled at times today, particularly when trying to cover the physical Mike Williams, but the energy level and athleticism of the twins is obvious. Hart came right back at Ryan though with an out and up pattern which Ryan bought on and the pass was complete to Mitchell for a big gain. Hart was gaining confidence and he rolled to complete a pass to Hale and then went to Grieg Carlson to move the ball inside the five. Hart finished the drive with a touchdown pass that bounced around a lot and it looked like Hale came out of the pile with the ball.

On the final set of the plays Cassel threw a screen to Dennis who was met with a strong hit from walk-on Greg Farr for a 6 yard loss. Kenechi Udeze made a play which showed his athleticism as he basically leaped over the blocker to grab walk-on Andre Woodert who had taken a handoff up the middle.

There was a lot of work done on special teams with Tom Malone providing a few booming kicks. All in all it was a good day of practice.

Among those in attendance were:

Steve Smith
Whitney Lewis
J.D. Booty
Thomas Herring
Terrell Jackson
Brandon Nicolas
Manuel Wright
Alex Morrow
Chet Sanders
Clay Matthews
Darrell Rideaux
Justin Fargas
DeShaun Hiull
Matt Spanos
Thomas Williams
Drean Rucker
Salo Faraimo

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