Tuesday practice tidbits

Drean Rucker ring

The biggest thing I wanted to check today at practice was the spirit and energy of the team and it was at a very high level. Practice was crisp, especially the passing game which seemed particularly sharp in the early stages of the day. The players were vocal during warm-ups but it's not a sense of cockiness, it's simply the type of excitement that can only be generated during the week of a big game.

* The biggest thing I wanted to check today at practice was the spirit and energy of the team and it was at a very high level. Practice was crisp, especially the passing game which seemed particularly sharp in the early stages of the day. The players were vocal during warm-ups but it's not a sense of cockiness, it's simply the type of excitement that can only be generated during the week of a big game.

* Matt Grootegoed left the field midway through practice with what appeared to be an ankle injury. He didn't return to practice, there was no final word on the injury by the time we left at the end of practice.

* Dominique Byrd looked very good. He took part in all the contact drills and was active in terms of catching the ball. I don't think it would be much of a surprise to see him make an impact in this game. One of the biggest keys for Byrd is that he kept himself in good condition during his rehab so the transition won't be as hard now that he's returned to the field.

* Greg Farr did not practice, his left foot was in a soft cast.

* Tom Malone got a lot of punt work.

* We mentioned earlier that the receivers were sharp and that includes Dwayne Jarrett, Chris McFoy and Will Buchanon who all made multiple plays. Jarrett was making some good cuts on his routes which drew praise from Lane Kiffin.

* Reggie Bush took part in practice (without a yellow jersey) and was running the ball and catches passes like normal. On one catch he stopped on a dime and changed direction before the defender could lay a hand on him.

* Keith Rivers took Grootegoeds spot at WLB for the last half of practice and he intercepted a pass by Matt Leinart.

* Kyle Williams looked good in pass blocking drills.

* La Juan Ramsey and Chris Barrett both practiced on the d-line.

* One of the highlights of the day was the appearance by Andre Rucker to pick up the national championship ring for Drean. Andre said the coaches had called him last week to let him know the ring was here and he's been excited to make the trip to campus to pick it up. He met with Coach Carroll, who presented him the ring along with some other USC gear, and then stayed for about half the practice. Andre said "I wish Drean was here to accept this ring but I'll give it to him when I see him. His pop will put that ring on his finger."

Andre Rucker with son Drean's championship ring

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