Key players sit out of practice

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
8:56
PM PT
It's unusual for the first practice after a large-margin victory, but the Trojans were missing quite a few starters and key reserves during Tuesday's session.

Safety Demetrius Wright (undisclosed) and defensive tackles DaJohn Harris (ankle) and Christian Tupou (knee) were out, and safety Jawanza Starling (rib), left tackle Matt Kalil (neck) and linebacker Simione Vehikite (neck) were very limited. Receiver Robert Woods (ankle) was also limited, sporting a yellow no-contact jersey once again.

"Unfortunately we had a lot of guys banged up today, even though it was a short game for us for the most part, meaning that our ones didn't have a lot of reps," Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said after practice.

All seven of those players suited up Saturday against Washington, with five fulfilling their traditional roles. Harris didn't start and was replaced by freshman George Uko; Woods started but was thrown to fewer times than he had been in any other game this season.

The weird part about the injury list: For most of the players, Saturday's game was the lightest load they experienced all season. USC was up 23-3 by halftime and Kiffin started transitioning in some backups in the third quarter.

"A surprisingly large amount of injuries for a game like that where we had a bunch of our guys only play 30-35 snaps," Kiffin said. "So hopefully we get them all back, we'll need them all for a very challenging week.

By very challenging, Kiffin is of course referencing the fourth-ranked Oregon Ducks, whom the Trojans will face on Saturday in Eugene.

USC expects most -- if not all -- of the seven guys to play against the Ducks. The players least likely to suit up are probably Vehikite and Harris.

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