August 7, 2006

Monday Practice Report (AM)

With a thick marine layer darkening the skies above Howard Jones Field, USC's freshman class practiced for the first time in full pads under the lights.

Joined by several veteran reserve players, the USC coaching staff brought along this year's newcomers slowly. With tempo and fundamentals the focus, Fall Camp is in full swing.

More than any other position, the offensive line brought together an intriguing mix of young players. With depth being a concern, offensive line coach Pat Ruel worked extensively with Charles Brown, Thomas Herring and Nick Howell.

Although Brown, Herring and Howell have only spent a year in the Trojans' offense as redshirt freshman, their progress will be vital to USC's future. To this point, Ruel likes what he sees from the Trojans' young guns.

"For the most part, the young guys are doing a really nice job, and they're a focus group," said Ruel. "I only have one true freshman (on the line) with Zack Heberer, but he's looked good early on.

"We're actually excited about all the freshmen. Anthony McCoy has looked good, Travon Patterson has looked, C.J. Gable has looked good . . . there hasn't been a player that's looked bad. But now that we have the pads on, we've started to separate the men from the boys a little bit."

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