Notes and quotes from Tuesday's practice:
There was less outright energy present on the field, but not necessarily in a bad way. It wasn't quiet or boring, it was more of a professional, methodical atmosphere -- helped, of course, by specials team coordinator John Baxter, who has recently taken control of the megaphone during practice and shouts out updates and words of encouragement during team drills. In other words, it's game week.
Running back Amir Carlisle was limping on what appeared to be a sore ankle but didn't show any ill effects coming off the field afterward. Tight end Christian Thomas, who's been out with a hip injury, participated in some 7-on-7 drills, and left guard Abe Markowitz sat out again because of a foot injury, but it's still possible he could be back by Saturday.
In Markowitz' place was junior Jeremy Galten, the juco transfer who has emerged over the last few days as the likely starter at that position for the season opener. It's funny -- the guard spots have gone through so much turnover this camp, it's almost like the coaches are reverting back to what they started with by using Galten and John Martinez as the first-team guards. Other players who (unsuccessfully) auditioned for those spots at various times throughout camp include freshmen Aundrey Walker and Marcus Martin and senior Martin Coleman.
Quarterback Matt Barkley looked better after somewhat of an off day Sunday. And his best receiving target on this day might have been redshirt freshman Kyle Prater, who reeled in a number of passes, including one that was ruled an incompletion on the sidelines but actually looked legal. Robert Woods wore a yellow no-contact jersey.
The undecided defensive positions lined up like this: at linebacker, it was Marquis Simmons and Hayes Pullard over Dion Bailey and Shane Horton; at cornerback, it was Tony Burnett and Torin Harris as the second and third corners; at strong safety, it was Jawanza Starling over Demetrius Wright.
A focus of Tuesday's session: "We lost a lot of games last year on the last possession," Kiffin said. "The way we look at it, if we just would have improved on two-minute defense a year ago, we're 11-2, even with all the other things that went on. Hopefully playing more players and more physical practices are going to help that."