Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Spring practice No. 10 notes
By Pedro Moura
Here are notes from Tuesday's practice that won't make it into our other posts off the session:
- The MVP of the day, coach Lane Kiffin said, was junior safety Demetrius Wright, who took the place of Jawanza Starling at first-team strong safety after lighting up the special-teams portion of practice. Wright has backed up Starling for much of the last two seasons.
- Starling, in turn, produced the play of day when he knocked back Victor Blackwell after the receiver caught a pass thrown to the middle of the field. Blackwell got sandwiched between Starling and corner Anthony Brown, really, but Starling provided the big hit.
- Strongside linebacker Dion Bailey missed practice after undergoing dental work earlier Tuesday, but he watched from the sideline. Senior Tony Burnett has been switched to linebacker from safety and took Bailey's place with the first-team defense in scrimmage drills. We'll have more on Burnett's move later in the week.
- Injury report: A few once-injured players returned to practice, including center Khaled Holmes (calf), cornerback Ryan Henderson (concussion) and fullback Soma Vainuku (back). But receiver George Farmer (hamstring) and tight ends Xavier Grimble (toe), Randall Telfer (hamstring) and Junior Pomee (foot) all stayed out, with Farmer doing individual work at the start of practice, Grimble and Telfer doing rehab activities and Pomee sitting out altogether.
- Kiffin said Pomee's right foot injury is not a re-break of the same foot he broke last August, but he said the doctors have not figured out anything else on it. Pomee, a redshirt freshman, underwent more tests Tuesday.
- Senior safety Drew McAllister was the only player to come out of practice with an injury, having complained of hip pain midway through practice. McAllister has been bothered by other nagging injuries this spring and has had serious hip problems in the past, including an injury that forced him to miss 2010 spring practice and most of the regular season.
- Final notes: Former USC receivers Patrick Turner and Damian Williams visited campus and participated in the individual portion of practice, which Kiffin said helped give the Trojans' quarterbacks more targets to throw to with so many pass-catchers sidelined. ... Sophomore J.R. Tavai worked at three-technique tackle for the first time this spring, with Kiffin saying that redshirt freshman Antwaun Woods has shown continued improvement at nose tackle. Tavai could back up both tackle spots. ... Sophomore Aundrey Walker continued to work as the left tackle with junior Kevin Graf staying on the right side.