The Trojans' first spring practice in full pads today invoked heavy doses of physical play, which drew plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" from the large turnout of spectators. On a near-perfect sunny Saturday afternoon, Head Coach Lane Kiffin pushed his squad through what he described as a "very physical, very long practice." Practice lasted two and a half hours. A few highlights from the Trojans third spring practice of the year...
- Junior tailback Allen Bradford, typically known for his punishing style of play with the ball in his hands, demonstrated his ability to deliver big hits as a blocker as well. During a drill where Bradford was assigned to protect the punter, he not only succeeded in blocking his opponent, but pile-driving him into the ground.
- Freshman Kyle Prater just might have suction cups on his hands. The wideout who enrolled early this past semester reeled in a one-handed, outstretched grab on a post-route pass from freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, and later hauled in a fade route with his arms extended over the top of a defender.
- Junior tailback CJ Gable had little trouble finding paydirt, as he scored three times in full squad drills from 5, 10 and 30 yards. Gable also made a nice adjustment on a tipped pass from Barkley, snagging the ball and turning the play into a 50-yard gain with a few jukes and evasive moves. His play certainly grabbed the attention of his head coach, who expressed that he was "excited" about the tailback's performance.
- Recent Trojans Everson Griffen, Anthony McCoy and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing stopped by to watch practice.
- The first day of padded practice often comes with its normal amount of bumps and bruises. Among the players nicked today were safety Marshall Jones (neck), offensive tackles Martin Coleman (ankle), Matt Kalil (hip) and Kevin Graf (ankle), defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo (ankle), fullbacks DJ Shoemate (hamstring) and Stanley Havili (shoulder), tailback Dillon Baxter (quad), and linebacker Marquis Simmons (neck). Kiffin noted that it would benefit the team "to be able to work through injuries."
The Trojans resume their practice schedule on Tuesday, keeping with the Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday agenda.