USC feisty in return to practice field

USC linebacker Joel Foy goes through bag drills at the beginning of practice on Tuesday.

LOS ANGELES — It was like the first day all over again for the USC football team and head coach Steve Sarkisian, sort of.

The Trojans returned to Howard Jones Field for the first time after a 10-day layoff for practice No. 4 of spring drills.

The structure of practice was almost identical to what they did on day one, back on Mar. 11.

The difference is with three practices down, Sarkisian felt his players had a better grasp on things and was pleased with the overall shape of the team following the layoff.

"I thought from a physical standpoint, for the most part, our conditioning was pretty good," Sarkisian said. "It showed their willingness to work while they were on spring break to keep themselves prepared for the pace of practice."

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But, they weren’t moving fast enough.

Tuesday’s return to practice was a lot more chippy than any of the other practices during Sarkisian’s short tenure.

There was more talking than usual and some pushing and shoving after plays. There were a couple of instances in which players had to be broken up.

"They got a little bit feisty today which is not a bad thing, which means they’re not so tired that they don’€™t have the fight in them which was late (in practice) which was good," Sarkisian said. "One of the keys for us is, that tells me we’re not going fast enough. If they feel like they have the time to yap at the guy across the ball from them, we’re not snapping the ball fast enough, so we need to get better at that."

In all, there were a lot of positives for Sarkisian to take from the team’s return.

"All in all, of a repeat of practice one coming in practice four, the guys responded," Sarkisian said. "Just like after every practice there’s plenty of stuff for us to work on — really in all three phases.

"We get to go look at this film as a staff. We get to visit with the players tomorrow, address the issues from the film and then come back Thursday and try to fix the issues that we have and build upon the things that we’re doing well."