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USC Football: First Throwing Session, Woods should be good to go for spring ball

With signing day next week USC now starts to turn its focus towards Spring Ball.

The off-season's first throwing session was yesterday...

** Senior quarterback Matt Barkley led the workout and had tremendous velocity on his passes. That typically has been the case when Barkley has time off.

** The "starting" wide receivers were De’Von Flournoy and Victor Blackwell. Robert Woods did not participate while recovering from ankle surgery, and Marqise Lee came late from track practice.

** Blackwell looked particularly impressive. I’ll have more on the redshirt freshman from Mater Dei High later this week.

** Woods wasn’t idle. The junior served as a coach/recruiter, schooling Carson High’s Darreus Rogers on the finer points of receiver play. Rogers committed to USC a year ago but took an official visit to Arizona State over the weekend, fueling speculation that he’ll flip. The best guess here: He sticks with USC.

I am not going to get too worked up on one throwing session but how the team starts to focus on the 2012 season now will provide a clearer picture as to how they will perform once fall training camp gets here.

Practice doesn't make perfect...practice makes permanent. We know that Woods and Lee are are in perfect sync with Barkley but now is the time to start working with the other receivers as you never know when they could be pressed into service.

I am just happy to talk about some football.

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Robert Woods can afford to miss these early throwing sessions, having Woods ready for spring ball is much more important.

Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle Dec. 19. He played the entire 2011 season with the ankle at less than 100 percent after originally injuring it playing pickup basketball on the eve of USC’s April 23 spring game.

The projected recovery time from the surgery is six weeks, Woods said. He hasn’t run since having the surgery, even though he believes he could.

"I’m just trying to play it safe," he said. "It’s a long season."

Woods did not give himself enough recovery time after hurting the ankle, and that had long-term ramifications. He often sat out Thursday practices and was barely a factor in the Nov. 12 game against Washington, catching only two passes for 5 yards.

"I didn’t think it was that serious," Woods said. "You roll your ankle every now and then. This was weird. It never went away."

There is absolutely no need to push things.

Just having him out there for moral support is enough for now. As long as woods is ready for spring ball I will be happy.

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Hayes Pullard is going to be a stud...

A case could be made that Pullard actually had a better season in 2011 than Bailey.

They tied for the team lead with 81 tackles (Pullard doing it 12 games, Bailey 11). But Pullard had more tackles for losses (6.5-2), more sacks (4-2) and more forced fumbles (2-1). Bailey had the edge in interceptions (2-0) and passes defensed (4-2). From a statistical standpoint, it’s basically a push.

Bailey arguably was more consistent, but Pullard really came on strong at the end. He was flat-out dominant against Oregon (team-high 14 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble) and almost as effective against UCLA (9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup).

Both Bailey and Pullard were redshirt freshmen last season, so this debate won’t end anytime soon. The fact that it’s up for debate at all shows just how far, and how fast, the linebacking unit has come.

It was an absolute show watching Pullard last year. Yeas, Dion Bailey was the main focus but Pullard really came out of no where and impressed a lot of us.

It is going to be fun watching the linebacker corps next season!

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Lane Kiffin gets coach of the year...

USC football head coach Lane Kiffin was named "Coach of the Year" by the LA Sports Awards, which will be given to him on March 15 at L.A. Live.

Kiffin guided the Trojans to a 10-2 record in his second season despite a young roster and NCAA sanctions.

Click here for the full release:
lane (2).pdf

Better than nothing considering the snub he got at the end of the season...

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Signing day is on Wednesday of next week. Depending on my schedule, I am going to try and get you the most up to date happenings as the day moves along.

There a lot of questions as to just who will sign and What Kiffin's overall strategy is to keep the roster at 75 by fall ball.

Should be interesting...