April 19, 2008

Practice Insider: Trojan Huddle Tune-Up

A certain student newspaper ran an editorial Friday declaring that the annual University of Southern California spring game, known as the 'The Huddle', was a wash. They argued that because Mark Sanchez had been declared the starting quarterback the game was without any oomph - it lacked any interesting stories. Later that afternoon, following a low intensity practice in shells, there was a showdown on Howard Jones Field. Head coach Pete Carroll had officially split up the USC football team into two teams - White and Cardinal - and both sides were huddled, twenty yards apart, jumping around and chanting, "We ready," and talking trash. It reeked of game-day.

It was hardly the atmosphere of a team that had no passion for Saturday's scrimmage. In fact, after 14 spring practices against what many have called the best competition in the country, the Huddle seems primed for a serious, hard-hitting intrasquad showdown.

"Coach Carroll showed us the breakdown of the teams, White versus Cardinal, and that White team is looking kind of beasty," linebacker Luthur Brown, not surprisingly a member of the White team, said. "White team's gonna dominate all day, every day."

One of the major story-lines of this year's spring ball has been the increasing physicality of the play, especially the highlight reel hits that have caused countless 'oohs and ahhs' at Howard Jones Field over the last two weeks.

"I think tomorrow is going to be highly explosive," Brown, still jacked up from the showdown, yelled. "I can't speak on behalf of the Cardinal team, but the White team is going to be laying hats. We're coming hard all day, every day."

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