USC defensive coordinator Don Lindsey was enthusiastically discussing several freshman players the other day, explaining why he couldn't wait until contact work begins Wednesday.
"Just looking at these new kids, they look great," he said.
"But you never know what you have until they put on pads.
"I'll never forget the first day of practice in 1976. Gary Jeter was a senior, Anthony Munoz was a freshman. On the first practice snap, Munoz bent Jeter over backward.
"None of the coaches said anything, but we all looked at each other, thinking the same thing: 'Hooray for us!' "
Coach John Robinson is calling his receivers, a season after Johnny Morton's departure, "the most underrated part of our team."
"This group is as good or better than our receiving corps last year," he said.
Last season, quarterback Rob Johnson passed for 3,285 yards, with Morton catching 88 passes for 1,520 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Morton is now with the Detroit Lions, but USC has his 1993 running mates, Ken Grace and Ed Hervey. The promising newcomers are freshmen Larry Parker of Bakersfield, Ken Haslip of Pasadena Muir and All-American junior college player Keyshawn Johnson.
Deon Strother, who caught 57 passes out of the fullback position, is now with the Denver Broncos. Offensive coordinator Mike Riley hopes quick, fast junior college transfer Leonard Green can run and catch in the Strother manner.
--Backup tight end Jeff Diltz suffered a knee injury in the morning drill and watched the afternoon practice on crutches. His knee will be X-rayed Monday.
--Starting linebacker Gerald Caruthers broke a bone in his foot running last week and will sit out the Washington game Sept. 3.