Practice report: the breakdown

August, 24, 2010
8/24/10
12:28
AM PT
Notes, quotes and video from Monday's practice:
  • Though coach Lane Kiffin refused to name a starter at any of the three positions, middle linebacker Devon Kennard, running back Marc Tyler and split end Robert Woods have emerged as the leaders at their respective positions, judging by Kiffin's allocation of reps during Monday's practice. At middle linebacker, Kiffin said Kennard and Galippo will no longer alternate regularly between first and second team -- as they had done all throughout spring and fall -- but added Galippo still will receive occasional opportunities at the No. 1 spot. The official depth chart for the opening week is expected to be released Saturday.
  • Allen Bradford returned to practice Monday after bruising his left knee during Friday's afternoon practice. He missed only one practice -- Saturday's scrimmage -- and used the off day to continue the recovery process. Said Bradford on the battle at running back, with Tyler challenging him for the job he was handed at the end of spring practice: "I'm just trying to come back from my injury. Marc's the next guy up -- him and C.J. (Gable) -- so I'm just fighting, trying to get back and making sure that my knee is right. ... I just gotta keep fighting, keep pushing and know that nothing is given to me at all. I gotta work for it. That's what I've been doing my whole career, fighting, so that's what I'm about to do."
  • At receiver, Woods' play has clearly exceeded that of fellow freshmen Kyle Prater and Markeith Ambles during fall camp, and he has also surpassed third-year player Brice Butler on his climb up to the starting spot at split end. Woods was originally thought of as a flanker for the Trojans -- where he would work alongside De'Von Flournoy and Ambles to back up starter Ronald Johnson -- but he has evidently convinced the coaching staff that a Woods-Johnson tandem can be effective. It's also important to note the Trojans will frequently use three- and four-receiver sets, meaning the battle for the second receiver spot isn't as meaningful as it may seem. The top four or so receivers will play regardless.
  • Monday's practice coincided with the first day of school, meaning a number of players had class conflicts that forced them to miss some of the 2 1/2-hour practice. Because the Trojans will not practice Mondays -- they'll instead practice Sundays -- beginning in two weeks, a number of players have registered for semester-long classes on Monday nights. Those include quarterback Matt Barkley, who gave way to Mitch Mustain midway through practice and exited the field.
  • Injury report: right guard Khaled Holmes' neck injury may be more severe than initially believed, as Kiffin indicated a fairly dire situation when speaking about the injury after practice. But Holmes underwent an MRI exam after practice and reported "very encouraging" details." He told reporters earlier Monday that he was only day-to-day. Left guard Butch Lewis (hip/groin) was back on a limited basis Monday after missing a week-plus because of injury. After practice, Lewis said he felt normal. Receivers David Ausberry and Brandon Carswell returned to the practice field.
  • Miami transfer Thearon Collier made his practice debut with the Trojans, wearing No. 81 and displaying impressive speed that made him a quality kick returner for the Hurricanes. Collier will play on the scout team this season while sitting out the year per NCAA transfer rules.
  • Final notes: Speaking of the scout team, freshman running back Dillon Baxter has also been relegated to it -- at least until the Hawaii game. Kiffin said Monday that the move was made because of his suspension that will keep him out of that game. ... The Trojans will practice at 4 p.m. for the next three days until taking the day off Friday -- the final day of rest before the season opener next Thursday -- Sept. 2 -- at Hawaii.

***

Kiffin spoke to the media after Monday's practice and discussed injuries, the decision-making process for position battles and more.

Hear what he had to say:

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