UCLA-styled jerseys litter the Howard Jones Field turf at the conclusion of Thursday's practice. USC scout-team members wore the interesting getups in an attempt to motivate the starters.
USC's scout-team players sported powder-blue jerseys in the vein of their crosstown rivals at UCLA Thursday, an interesting attempt to stir up a little excitement by the Trojan coaches roughly 48 hours before the season opener on Saturday against Minnesota.
Never mind that USC won't play UCLA for another 90 or so days -- the jerseys mean the same thing regardless of who the upcoming opponent is.
The move was meant to kill two birds with one stone: (1) Get the starters and valued backups more motivated to go hard in practice against the jerseys they so despise and (2) Get the scout-teamers inspired to improve enough to get off scout team and out of the jerseys. Running backs Curtis McNeal and D.J. Morgan said it worked perfectly, although it was "pretty funny," McNeal said.
"It's nothing big," coach Lane Kiffin said afterward. "We just had a service team for the look of the other team and that's a rivalry around here, so hopefully they'll be motivated to get off service team and they won't have to wear the powder-blue jerseys."
Was it a symbolic gesture of sorts to the players, Kiffin was asked?
"Not really," he said, breaking out a small smile. "We were bored."