Notes, quotes and video from Tuesday's practice:
It's a funny thing: Coach Lane Kiffin's USC squad has often appeared to play more complete games on the road than at home this season -- but that doesn't mean that this Saturday's 5 p.m. game at Oregon State won't be a challenge, for a variety of reasons that include expected weather, Oregon State's likelihood of rebounding after an embarrassing home loss to Washington State and Jacquizz Rodgers himself. But, still, the road aspect is worth mentioning. "It has been unique this season," Kiffin said after Tuesday's practice. "If you group all the games together, home and road, we’ve played more consistent on the road. Even as you look at the games themselves, I just think we’ve played better. Sometimes I think maybe your first year with a young team, there’s something about playing on the road and growing together."
Injury report: cornerback Brian Baucham, safety Jawanza Starling (hamstring), tight end Blake Ayles (head), center Abe Markowitz (foot) did not practice. Defensive tackle Hebron 'Loni' Fangupo (ankle), cornerback Torin Harris, receiver Brice Butler and running back Marc Tyler (ankle) were limited. Kiffin said that even though the injury list was long, this week could very well end up being one of the Trojans' healthiest weeks of the season by the time Saturday rolls around. "That would be good to have, obviously," he said, "in going up to a place that has been extremely hard to play for a lot of people, including USC." Delving into injury specifics, Ayles revealed Saturday that he had suffered a concussion last month and said he hoped to return to practice this week; Fangupo said Tuesday that the ankle injury that has sidelined him in recent weeks is simply a re-aggravation of the injury that required surgery last season and forced him to miss spring practice this year. He re-injured it against Oregon and has missed the last two games; he said Tuesday he is "90 percent" healthy and plans to play Saturday against Oregon State.
Other injury-related notes: quarterback Matt Barkley's leg "came up a little lame" near the end of the Arizona game, per Kiffin, but the sophomore was fully healed Tuesday and participated in all of practice. Cornerback T.J. Bryant -- who has been mysteriously absent from almost all defensive packages and oddly said after the Cal game that he did not play even though he did, albeit briefly -- has a shoulder issue that may require surgery, Kiffin said. The junior is scheduled to take another test Wednesday and could undergo surgery by the end of the week. "It’s something that we knew had to get fixed, but thought maybe he could make it through," Kiffin said. "It’s just really been bothering him a lot.” Bryant's absence is particularly noteworthy this week because USC has only two healthy, non-redshirting scholarship players at cornerback at the moment in Nickell Robey and Shareece Wright. Both Baucham and Harris must be listed as question marks at this point because of their limited participation Tuesday, and having the third safety play nickel isn't really an option either -- as the safety spot is dealing with its own injuries with Starling out.
Speaking of Tyler, despite the redshirt junior's 31-carry, 160-yard performance on Saturday, the running back situation is still quite cloudy. Senior backups Allen Bradford and C.J. Gable each approached Kiffin after Saturday's game -- Gable on Monday, Bradford on Tuesday -- about their lack of playing time over the last several weeks. Gable didn't indicate that anything definitive came out of his meeting with the coach, although Bradford said he received "the truth." "Me being a fifth-year senior, I just felt that I should know the truth," Bradford said. "He told me the truth and I respect him for that, so I’ve just got to keep working on it this week and keep going." Asked about his meeting with Bradford, Kiffin recalled that the two had a similar talk earlier this season, just before the Minnesota game -- which, he noted, turned out to be Bradford's second-best game this season. "He just has to make the most of his chances if he gets a chance, and he did that week.”
Final notes: Defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron had the boot removed from his foot that he broke two months ago during Virginia preparation. ... The Trojans will practice twice more this week -- Wednesday and Thursday at 4 p.m. -- before departing Friday afternoon for Oregon. Interestingly, the Trojans will fly to Eugene, Ore., where the University of Oregon plays, then drive to Salem and stay the night there before bussing to Corvallis for the game and bussing back to Eugene afterward to fly back to Los Angeles.
Kiffin spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice and addressed injured Oregon State receiver James Rodgers and his own ailing cornerback, Bryant.
See all of what he had to say:
In his typical post-practice Tuesday session with the media, Barkley talked over what Oregon State has to offer defensively, what he thought of his game against Arizona in retrospect and more.
See what he had to say: