Ross, Smith, Alford make Giant Debuts

As receiver Steve Smith lined up for his first 11-on-11 play during his first practice as a Giant, he looked across the line of scrimmage and saw former nemesis cornerback Aaron Ross.

The two had squared off under the bright lights of the National Championship Game when Ross' Texas Longhorns toppled Smith's USC Trojans. Now teammates, the Giants' top two picks faced off on the session's first three plays, with neither participant claiming much of a victory.

Ross struggled some in his first practice, dropping a punt, allowing a reception in front of him by Brandon London and getting tangled up with a receiver on what would have obviously been called pass interference had referees been present.

However, Ross was unbowed and his coach generally impressed.

"I feel I can make plays, that's why they got me," Ross said following the Saturday morning practice. "I just didn't get a chance to get my hands on anything."

Tom Coughlin was pleased with his top pick.

"I like the way he presents himself, the way he is in meetings, his demeanor," Coughlin said. "He is a football player. I'm encouraged by everything I see."

As for Smith, he made several catches, including one beautiful leaping grab.

"If I don't make those catches, there's something weird," he said.

"He made some nice catches," Coughlin added. "He has got good hands."

Coughlin was impressed with third-round pick Jay Alford.

"He's moving pretty good," Coughlin said. "There's no question about Jay's motives."

Coughlin also was delighted that Plaxico Burress joined the club's offseason workout program earlier in the week.

"It's all positive. He came in for the right reasons," he said. "He is looking forward to working with the quarterbacks. Obviously it is a very good sign and a very positive thing for us. It can do nothing but make us better."

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