The USC Trojan football team will gather bright and early Friday morning for a team run, capping the first two weeks of summer workouts.
Under strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and his staff, the team's been meeting every day for one of three sessions, focusing on a variety of exercises designed to make the Trojans more explosive and dynamic this upcoming season.
Carlisle and his staff have run the Trojans through timed runs, core training, footwork drills, stretches and jumping drills.
Here are some highlights.
• Mark Sanchez has really stepped up in a leadership role, doing his best to hang on to the top spot on the depth chart.
Sanchez has been a vocal leader in workouts, keeping the energy and focus levels high.
Once Sanchez and the other quarterbacks get out on the field to begin throwing, expect his game and leadership to take another step.
• Hype's not been an issue for the Trojan defense. Players like Rey Maualuga and Fili Moala have already been penciled in near the top of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Instead of resting on the accolades, Maualuga, Moala, Taylor Mays, Brian Cushing and Kevin Ellison have been some of the hardest working players, setting fantastic examples for the younger players.
• Everson Griffen is just a monster. Griffen's that rare combination of size and speed, and the preseason hype surrounding the sophomore end seems justified.
Watching Griffen in box jumping drills, it's easy to see why he's considered one of the most explosive young Trojans on the roster. He's quick off the ground, works on his toes and is strong as a bull.
• Damian Williams looks hungry to get on the field. The Arkansas transfer will certainly push for considerable playing time, as his work ethic appears to match his talent.
• Garrett Green and Coach Carlisle do a good job keeping things light at practice, cutting some of the funniest jokes.
• While the linebackers have gotten a lot of attention (rightfully so), don't sleep on the Trojan secondary, which should be among the country's best.
• Coach Carlisle and his staff do a great job getting the most out of the players. Summer workouts could get monotonous, but with the competition and influx of new drills, things are kept relatively fresh.
For the inside scoop on what is going on with Trojan athletics make sure you read The Peristyle!