Coming together as one

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A melodic melding process took place Thursday afternoon on Howard Jones Field.

Halfway through yesterday's conditioning workout, the coaches huddled up to organize the day's final drill, leaving the players in a group on the sideline. As they huffed while recovering from an intense 30-minute circuit of conditioning exercises, the players started barking out encouragement.

"This is where we come together!" one player yelled.

"They can't break us!" another one bellowed.

The shouts of support continued on from all directions in the mass of players, and before long, they were drawn close together, bouncing around and chanting ooo-haa in unison -- much like they do at the edge of the tunnel prior to a game in the fall.

The uproar died down just as coaches were calling them over for the final set of conditioning drills, but not before the players came together one last time for a "Trojans!" chant.

The spontaneous team-unifying moment lasted only a few seconds, but its impact could carry on for months to come.

"We were so tired, but we realized that we had to dig deep to find something," wideout Brice Butler said. "When you're tired, voices start talking in your head, telling you to quit. But we started saying, 'We can do this,' and that's when you really come together as one."

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