Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday practice report: Running shoes
By Pedro Moura
Notes, quotes and video from Friday's practice, which pushed three hours in length:
After a lackluster, three-interception day from the offense, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin had the entire unit running after practice ended. Kiffin had praised his offense -- and his quarterbacks especially -- for much of camp for staying away from turnovers, but the situation has turned on its head in recent days. Said an obviously upset Kiffin while his players ran on adjacent Brian Kennedy Field: "We have a turnover issue on offense, which we're addressing as we speak, because we're not going to win any games if we take care of the ball like we did today." We'll have more on this in the morning.
The injuries are just piling on for USC. At least 17 scholarship players are currently hindered by injuries, with most of those players unable to practice. Friday's big one was redshirt freshman linebacker Marquis Simmons, who underwent an appendectomy during practice, Kiffin said, after he had some "issues" during the team's morning walk-through. Freshman cornerback Demetrius Wright (toe), running back Marc Tyler (groin), offensive lineman Kevin Graf (shoulder) are among the newly injured, as is senior receiver Ronald Johnson, who took it easy during practice because of a sore back. Fullback Stanley Havili participated in practice after dislocating his shoulder Thursday but wore a yellow jersey to avoid contact.
On-field highlights: cornerback Torin Harris picked off a Matt Barkley pass in the end zone that was intended for Robert Woods, and Brian Baucham intercepted a Mitch Mustain ball during scrimmage drills. Both players drew considerable celebration along the defensive sideline, and Kiffin spotlighted the performance of Harris, Baucham, and freshman cornerback Nickell Robey after practice.
Kiffin finally budged a bit on the kicker spot Friday, admitting that Joe Houston has the edge over punter Jacob Harfman for the placekicker spot -- as it stands today. Houston was listed ahead of Harfman on the end-of-spring depth chart, but Kiffin and special teams coach John Baxter re-opened the competition for fall camp. Both players started camp well and then tailed off, although Houston has appeared to turn it up in recent days while Harfman has continued to struggle. Both players are seniors.
Final notes: Offensive coordinator Kennedy Pola's son, K.C. Pola, has joined the team as a walk-on fullback and will wear No. 43, the same number his cousin, Troy Polamalu, wore at USC. ... The Trojans will hold their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday at 4 p.m. before taking Sunday off. ... Friday's practice had originally been scheduled for 3 p.m. but was moved to the evening.
Kiffin talked about the growing number of injuries for the Trojans, the turnover situation, the competition at cornerback and plenty more during his post-practice meeting with the media on Friday.