Robert Woods stands out even more
April, 9, 2011
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Who did Lane Kiffin think were the standouts of USC's Saturday scrimmage, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time this spring?
Well, his first answer when asked that question after the scrimmage was Robert Woods. Woods was also his second answer, half-jokingly. His third was junior quarterback Matt Barkley. He didn't name anyone else.
That should help to explain Woods' Saturday performance a little bit. The sophomore receiver was the most dominant player on the field at the Coliseum, switching freely between three receiver spots and battling a gash on his left arm that re-opened mid-practice and oozed blood and still finishing with 10 catches for 65 yards and three touchdowns.
"It was good to see him do so many things," Kiffin said. "He was bleeding out there and he goes and puts himself back in -- he's so competitive and it's just his second semester here."
Woods played almost exclusively as a split end last year while Ronald Johnson started at flanker but started to learn the other positions as the year progressed. Now, for the first time Saturday, in fact, he feels comfortable enough at flanker, split end and slot receiver to play all three, meaning the Trojans can exploit opponents for good match-ups with Woods by moving him around the line of scrimmage at their choosing.
Oh, and the gash, Woods said, occurred when USC practiced on the turf of Cromwell Field during the first week of spring practice last month. It hasn't healed yet -- probably because he's always hitting and being hit in practice.
Both of Woods' touchdown catches during Saturday's scrimmage came on 11-yard passes from Barkley, who also played well. Woods also caught a two-yard out from Barkley during goal-line drills for a score just before the official scrimmage began and he served as Barkley's short-yardage option all scrimmage long as the Trojan offensive line often failed to provide protection.
Said Woods: "I'm just trying to get out there and do what I can, lead by example and make plays."