March 24, 2011
Let's get physical.
That seems to be the motto of the 2011 USC Football team. Still only in helmets, you got the sense that it felt more like September in the Coliseum rather than March on Cromwell Field (Howard Jones is still a tad too soggy for use).
Even practice is more intriguing than usual. Multiple simultaneous 7-on-7 drills found a way to share the field with kicking practice making the sight one that could entertain the most ADD ridden spectator. You can't help but get the sense that is truly a sign of things to come.
Though only their second day experimenting with 5 AM meetings and 7:25 AM practices, the sense is that the players are already adapting to their new routine. The extra emphasis on what Coach Orgeron would call "physical toughness" seemed to raise the energy level of the participants, not drain it as one would expect.
The star of today's show was the secondary unit. Though one usually expects the defense to ahead of the offense at this point the new starting line up with Tony Burnett and Nickell Robey at corner already seems to be paying dividends.
Keeping the secondary on their toes was the receiving corp who received a new member today: Walk on Cody Gifford, son of USC legend Frank Gifford, donned number 24 today and, in the absence of Kyle Prater (still recovering from a fractured foot), stood out at the tallest potential target for Barkley this season. Who will backing up Barkley though is yet to be determined.
Despite the physicality, there has only been one added to the injury list thus far: Marc Tyler. He sat out today with a pulled hamstring, but was walking with relatively no limp.
Practice resumes on Saturday at a more reasonable 10:30 am.