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July 11, 2006The entire football team gathered at dawn on Tuesday for a Trojan Run conditioning workout followed by a throwing session for the skill position players.
Taking the field for the first time was freshman wide receiver Vidal Hazelton, who looked good in his debut. Find out how Vidal and the rest of the incoming freshmen did in this exclusive report from campus.
The theme of the conditioning workouts with strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle was "finish." During every drill, each and every player had to finish strong or everyone had to run through the exercise again.
Last week many of the incoming freshmen had their first taste of how hard they are expected to work at USC. The only new face taking part on Tuesday was Hazelton, and he had his name called out early on by Carlisle.
The veterans again sported weighted vests, helping to instill the correct work ethic in the younger players.
Two former players also attended the workout. Quarterback Matt Cassel ran through the conditioning drills but skipped the throwing session. Matt said he is scheduled to report to the Patriots on July 23rd and that he is currently #2 behind Tom Brady. Defensive lineman LaJuan Ramsey was also at the workout.
Concluding the Trojan Run was the usual position race, where players split up by position and then run through an arrangement of cones at a full sprint. Jeff Schweiger dominated the defensive linemen group, winning each time he raced while Ryan Kalil emerged as the fastest offensive lineman.
In the other position races many of the younger players showed off their speed and beat out their teammates. Guys like Hazelton, Vincent Joseph and Emmanuel Moody all finished strong.
The linebackers continue to look strong and they are extremely deep. The top-6 guys could probably start anywhere and some of the players behind them are not too shabby either. For instance, Clay Matthews showed his toughness at the workout after he tweaked his ankle early on. Instead of just taking the rest of the day off, Matthews went in, had the ankle taped and finished the workout with his teammates.
Freshman receiver David Ausberry looks like a player in the mold of Mike Williams. He said he was 220 pounds right now and he will probably have to fight to keep his weight from blowing up once camp starts.
As talented as these freshmen are, maybe the most impressive characteristic they share is how hard they are willing to work. They have a lot to learn, but having all that talent and speed and being coachable to boot is a major plus for this recruiting class.
Unfortunately the freshmen have a gag order on as far as interviews go, but USCFootball.com will continue to report on the workouts and provide high quality photos, video highlights and interviews.