June 2, 2008

Plenty of sweat at first workout

With the sun freshly in the sky over Howard Jones Field, Trojans like Mark Sanchez, Rey Maualuga, Damian Williams and Kristofer O'Dowd took the field, ready to begin summer workouts.

With strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and his staff there studying and teaching, around 40 players took part in the 7 a.m. session.

Lasting under two hours, players took part in a series of drills, exercises and lifts.

"It's good to be back out here," Sanchez said. "It's a good feeling to know we're starting to get back into the swing of things."

The concepts behind the summer workouts aren't anything new to veterans like Kevin Ellison, Sanchez and Maualuga. However, Carlisle and his staff are constantly looking to evolve.

The stations focused on strength, movement and core strength.

"We're always tweaking the system to find better ways of doing things," Carlisle said.

New this year, Carlisle has implemented timed 20 and 10-yard runs each week. He also has added two new stations that focus on specific movements.

"With the new stuff, we've tried to add competition over the summer," he said. "The flexibility issue is something you're always trying to stay ahead of, and we've added that.

"They're small changes, but I think they'll have great repercussions for the rest of the year."

Even on day one, competitive spirits still emerged. In agility drills, Maualuga and Sanchez went head-to-head, with each player crossing the finish line first.

"I got him every time," Sanchez joked. "That's the way I remember it."

Other players attending the early workout included quarterback Mitch Mustain, kicker David Buehler, cornerback Shareece Wright and defensive tackle Christian Tupou.

The players also spent time in the weight room Monday morning, with some players like O'Dowd going back for more after the workout.

Covered in sweat, O'Dowd said he wasn't expecting any breaks on the first day of a nine-week process.

"We shouldn't be surprised with how hard we're working now," he said. "We've been working this hard all year."

A few Trojans were limited in their participation. Offensive linemen Martin Coleman and Matt Meyer both spent time on stationary bicycles, and Coleman, specifically, walked off the field with a noticeable limp.

Check back with USCFOOTBALLcom for more summer workout coverage, including photo galleries and player updates.

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