Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's practice:
A shorter session for the Trojans on Thursday as Lane Kiffin attempted to conserve his players' energy for a Saturday night game against Arizona State. One unusual drill USC spent some time working on in practice had quarterback Matt Barkley drop back under heavy five- and six-man pass rushes and attempt to deliver on-target passes.
Injury report: Hebron 'Loni' Fangupo, center Abe Markowitz (foot), guard John Martinez (foot) and tight end Blake Ayles did not practice. Right tackle Tyron Smith (knee/ankle) and running back C.J. Gable (knee) were limited. Markowitz, who broke his foot in August, was again sporting a boot on his injured foot Thursday. He had been practicing lightly earlier in the week.
Freshman cornerback Nickell Robey, who missed Wednesday's practice with an unusual injury we detail below, offered up some quality insight Thursday about Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet, who has thrown 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the season: "He's a real confident guy, as I look on film. Once he makes something good happen, he just starts gunning it to the point where he throws a lot of interceptions. It shows up big-time on film how he gets real overwhelmed with his throwing and everything. He's a great quarterback, though." Robey also said he expects to be called upon for corner blitzes more this week.
More on Threet and the blitz: Inarguably the Trojans' best defensive performance this season came last month against Cal, when -- not coincidentally -- the team also blitzed much more than in any other game this season. Asked if USC planned to go back to a blitz-heavy plan to pressure Threet and the Sun Devils on Saturday, defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron stopped short of guaranteeing it, but seemed to indicate it was in the works. "We're gonna do what we know how to do," Orgeron said Thursday. "Each gameplan is different. But obviously we'd like to get the guys moving if the situation dictates it. We're gonna have to mix it up."
Senior running back Allen Bradford is finally fully recovered -- 100 percent, he says -- from the turf toe injury that has hampered him since the week of the Cal game. Thursday, he talked about the five games that remain this season for USC -- and for his college career -- with an obvious eye pointed directly toward the NFL. "It's been a long, hard road," Bradford said. "It's my last year, and I was expecting to play a lot and be the guy. I've still had a lot of ups and downs. I'm not glad that it's over, but I'm glad that I get to move on to the next level and see what happens there."
Final notes: No decisions have been made on the starter at any of the three re-opened positions this week: left guard, strong safety and middle linebacker. ... A closed walk-through is all that's left for the Trojans on the field this week, scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on Howard Jones Field. ... Defensive end Nick Perry, who has been bothered by a high-ankle sprain for more than two months now, was off the injury report Thursday for the first time this week. Also off and apparently healthy were a trio of linebackers: Chris Galippo, Malcolm Smith and Devon Kennard. Freshman running back Dillon Baxter, evidently 100 percent as well, had a remarkable run up the east sideline near the end of practice off of a screen pass caught behind the line.
Kiffin spoke to the media Thursday in a very abbreviated session.
See what he had to say about his team's preparation for the Sun Devils:
Robey, a starter for USC at corner opposite Shareece Wright, missed Wednesday's practice after undergoing a root canal earlier in the day. He was present at practice but did not dress because of pain in his mouth.
Said the 18-year-old of the ordeal: "Man, it was something I don't want to go through again."
In this video interview taken after Thursday's practice, Robey also talked about his personal expectations for Saturday, the similarities between Arizona State's offense and other offense the Trojans have faced this year and more.
See all of what he had to say: