Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Tuesday practice quick hits
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- Here are news and notes from Tuesday's practice that won't make it into our other coverage off the session:
Barkley to Woods improving
The Matt Barkley to Robert Woods connection that looked so polished and perfect last season hasn't looked as good this camp, but that's starting to change.
USC coach Lane Kiffin noted Tuesday -- without being asked about it -- that the pair appeared to be hitting on several cylinders in the day's practice. It was the second straight positive day for the two players after a subpar scrimmage on Sunday
"It seems to be on its way back," Kiffin said of Barkley and Woods' timing.
Of course, the main reason why the connection suffered in the first place was Woods' offseason struggle with his ankle injury, so the fact that he has been back on the field of late is almost assuredly why it has suddenly taken a turn for the better.
It's hard to be sharp when you're not on the field, basically.
USC has six days to get under the NCAA-mandated 75-man scholarship limit for the 2012 season, with the start of school on Aug. 27 marking the last possible day for the Trojans to report their on-scholarship players to the NCAA.
USC will probably end up reporting fewer than 75 players. As of right now, the school has between 69 and 71 players actually on scholarship, with Darreus Rogers, Isiah Wiley and Marquis Simmons all not academically eligible and one or more of the three former walk-ons (Tony Burnett, Abe Markowitz, Will Andrew) who previously received scholarships not yet back on them for the 2012 school year and season.
If the three ineligible players all become eligible, then one of those former walk-ons would have to stay off of scholarship unless another player medically redshirts or becomes ineligible, which is unlikely but not impossible. But it's also unlikely that all three ineligible players will end up qualifying to compete, so the Trojans aren't exactly strapped for scholarships.
"As you can see, it's not going to be an issue," Kiffin said of getting to the 75-man limit.
Right tackle Kevin Graf practiced after missing the last few days because of an undisclosed injury issue. Running back D.J. Morgan also practiced fully after being bothered by a knee injury Monday.
Players still sitting out of practice because of various injuries include offensive lineman David Garness, defensive lineman Greg Townsend Jr, middle linebacker Lamar Dawson and cornerback Torin Harris.
Final notes: USC held the long-awaited dedication ceremony for its new John McKay Center after practice, with Olympians Rebecca Soni, Bryshon Nellum and Josh Mance attending, along with many athletes, school officials and roughly 500 donors. ... USC continued to practice on Dedeaux Field but is expected to move back onto Howard Jones in the next couple days. ... Junior defensive end Morgan Breslin has continued to impress the coaching staff and his teammates. The junior-college transfer looks like the third end as of Tuesday, behind senior Wes Horton and sophomore J.R. Tavai.