spring practice day 1

i know all of our minds are elsewhere today, but in between meetings in first culver city and then westwood, i was able to get to Lot 6 and watch about an hour and a half of practice.

  1. right under me was new special teams coach Frank Ganz. Ganz was coaching a handful of players for punt returns...austin, lockett, norris, courtney viney, ryan graves, marcus everett...all of them seem to be in the running for the return game. i was impressed with Ganz and his energy level. he's extremely vocal, both positively and negatively. when lockett had the wind blow the ball a bit, yet still hang on, Ganz was encouraging and said..."hey sometimes the balls gonna move...let me tell you something. in december, when it's cold, it's impossible to catch the ball, but you gotta do it." Ganz is tremendous
  2. Depth Chart notes...
  • Cowan and Olson seemed to be rotating in and out with Micah Reed (the 1st team Center)
  • because josh edwards is out at WLB with injury, John Hale was the #1 WLB with Boz still #1 at SLB.
  1. The running back situation may be okay. Khalil Bell was in gear, catching punts, and looking a lot better than someone coming off a torn ACL 6 months ago...Raymond Carter looks FAST as well... he was out there in the red non-contact jersey... but he looked pretty good as well.
  2. I didn't see any shotgun. it looks like we're using USC pro sets under Chow. if CalPolyBruin's writeup on Chow is any indicator, we'll learn ALL of our basic pass patterns in the first 2 days of practice. they're pretty basic...curls, WR screens, slants, and go routes.
  3. When the team went into FG drills, one player was out of place and late getting into the huddle and Ganz went Larry Bowa...
"Guys we have 2 depth for field goals and one for punt...GET IN THE HUDDLE AND LINE UP CORRECTLY." did i say Ganz was tremendous? also, his attention to detail was tremendous as well, telling the Guards to line up with their inside foot behind the long snapper's leg to prevent any inside rush. (could have used it against BYU)

remember when our guys were fumbling punts away and dorrell claimed that we didn't have time to practice special teams because of the ncaa mandate on practice lengths? like Neuheisel said, we need to win the close games this year to be competitive, so thank God we have a competent coaching staff stressing the details on special teams.

6) Offensive drills...

all 5 QBs were rotating evenly throwing some of Chow's basic routes...

he started with the WR Screen that USC always loved to run, and of all 5, the only one who didn't botch a throw was Cowan.

second was the 7 yard curl, and i'd say olson threw these the best...all 5 QBs threw pretty good's hard to mess that up.

next they threw slants, and all 5 were mediocre...great. chow's offenses love the slant, and so we'll need to get this one right quick. same can be said for the look-in route (5 yards) as the curls..all 5 qbs threw pretty well.

finally the go route...patrick cowan was all over the place...short, wide, etc. cforce and craft weren't much better. craft looked rusty, consistently underthrowing the receiver. in all honesty, OR was throwing the best deep balls, with Ben not being too bad.

then we got into what i'm sure is the first half of Chow's 9-10 passing plays. i saw the USC FB Wheel, and a lot of simple stuff that attacks the cover 2...good stuff.

since we're rotating 5 QBs until we learn the offense, the tempo was tremendous today...we would have two formations going at once to speed things up. i can imagine RN using woodenisms..."be quick but dont hurry..."

7) With the DLine right in front of me, Brigham Harwell waved to me and my buddy who were at the top of Lot 6. he seems incredibly happy to be out there again after the injury frustrations from last year. good luck to you this year BH, and we're glad that you're back on the field. between him and Price, we're going to be SOLID in the middle.

in any case, our QBs looked inadequate today, but from what i saw from the coaching staff, i know we're in good hands. RN was in full scale CEO mode, going from group to group during the position drills, and showing some energy, encouraging the players, high fiving michael norris after a blocked FG.

i had to get to another meeting so i missed the last 2 plays that chow was going to install. i cant make it tomorrow, but i'll have more after saturday's practice as we're counting down til our epic game against the Tigers on Saturday.

in RN we trust


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