Saturday, August 28, 2010
Saturday practice report: Breakdown
By Pedro Moura
Notes, quotes and video from Saturday's morning practice:
USC coach Lane Kiffin has instituted a new policy for reporting injuries. Only three descriptions will be provided for each injured player -- full, limited, or out -- and there will be no expanding on the extent of the injury from player or coach. It went into effect Saturday.
Left guard Butch Lewis was the only player characterized as "full" -- Kiffin expects him to start Thursday's season opener against Hawaii. Safety Drew McAllister was "limited," as were right guard Khaled Holmes, defensive end Nick Perry, quarterback Mitch Mustain, cornerback T.J. Bryant, defensive back Patrick Hall, and freshman running back D.J. Morgan. Freshman tight end Xavier Grimble was out, as were linebackers Marquis Simmons and Hayes Pullard. Kiffin indicated that both Pullard (knee) and Simmons (appendectomy) could return to the field within five or so weeks.
Freshman safety Demetrius Wright was cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center late Friday, per Kiffin, and returned to the practice field Saturday. Quarterback Jesse Scroggins -- the other player sent home by the NCAA -- was cleared Thursday and is listed as the third-string quarterback for the Hawaii game.
On-field highlight: Robert Woods, who has struggled some since Kiffin declared him the leader to start at split end a week or so ago, had a very solid practice. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder pulled in about a 35-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley in the back end of the end zone and made it look fairly easy.
Woods beat out Brice Butler -- among others -- to start opposite Ronald Johnson in a race Kiffin described Saturday as close. The coach similarly described the battle at middle linebacker, where true sophomore Devon Kennard beat out redshirt junior Chris Galippo to be the quarterback of the defense.
Galippo will be the primary backup at all three linebacker spots, Kiffin said Saturday, and will also play on special teams. "It's not like Chris isn't gonna play or anything," senior Michael Morgan, the starter at strongside linebacker, said Saturday. "Chris is a smart guy. He understands the scheme, our defense. He can do 'em all." Morgan added that Galippo was down upon first learning the news but soon realized that he will stilll be counted on to play and contribute in multiple spots on the field.
There are five days until the first game, making Saturday akin to a typical Monday during the season. Barkley said it felt like game week: "It definitely does. With what we're practicing, the plays we're doing, and the meetings we're having, it definitely feels like game week. I like it -- I love it. You can definitely tell that a game's coming up."
Final notes: The Trojans practice Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and Monday at 4 p.m. They'll then practice at 2 p.m. on Tuesday before departing for Hawaii later that evening. ...One surprise on the depth chart released Friday evening: walk-on quarterback John Manoogian -- just 6-foot and 205 pounds, will be the backup to scholarship long snapper Chris Pousson.
Kiffin spoke to the media after Saturday's practice and gave his new briefing on the injury situation. The coach also addressed the process for making decisions for the position battles and a variety of other topics.
Hear what he had to say:
Marc Tyler will start at running back for the Trojans against Hawaii, a remarkable climb for the redshirt junior who opened up fall camp earlier this month as the back with the fewest practice reps -- far behind projected starter Allen Bradford. The always candid Tyler spoke at length Saturday about his thought process upon learning his status with the team at the start of fall, how he felt , and what he thinks he needs to do from here on out: