Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Tuesday practice report: Breakdown
By Pedro Moura
Notes, quotes and video from Tuesday's practice:
First of all, of course, USC coach Lane Kiffin addressed the Reggie Bush situation, telling reporters that Bush's decision to return his Heisman Trophy to the Heisman Trophy did not affect his current squad. Thus, Kiffin said, he would not be spending a considerable amount of time deliberating on the issue. "I respect any decision that Reggie made," Kiffin said to begin his media session. "I’m sure it was extremely hard for him. I know talking to him earlier in the process – I didn’t speak to him today – this has been extremely difficult on him and something that has hurt him a lot."
More from Kiffin, on whether he expects an apology from Bush to the school: "That’s not really my position to comment on. I really don’t care, to be honest with you. This has nothing to do with this team. This has nothing to do with the direction of this program. That’s the past. Obviously we’re suffering from it, and we’re moving forward and making the best of the situation."
As for the play on the field, the Trojans were missing two key defensive linemen in Nick Perry and Armond Armstead, forcing defensive line coach Ed Orgeron to use true freshman Christian Thomas a lot more at his new position of defensive end. They will possibly have to count on senior Derek Simmons to start there if Perry's unble to go against Minnesota; redshirt freshman Kevin Greene is also an option. Both Perry and Armstead were listed as "limited" by Kiffin in his post-practice injury report, and the two players spent a good bit of practice roaming the sidelines together.
In other injury news, linebacker Marquis Simmons -- who missed about a month of practice after undergoing an emergency appendectomy -- was back on the practice field. Kiffin declined to specify what his role would be in the future, indicating that it depended on how ready he will truly be. Tight end Jordan Cameron was also listed as limited. Cameron reportedly suffered a concussion on the penultimate play of Saturday's game against Virginia, when he jumped high up in the air in an attempt to corral the Cavaliers' onside kick. He missed, but also had a good game in Kiffin's eyes and has established himself as the clear No. 2 tight end behind starter Rhett Ellison.
Backup quarterback Mitch Mustain, on his return to being 100 percent behind Matt Barkley: "I was trying to get some stuff straightened on that, physically. I really hadn't practiced up until that point. I was very limited. Now I feel good, it's just a matter of getting back into it. When you sit out a week, it can take its toll. It's hard to get back on it and kinda get your body back, reacting normally. I struggled a litte, but I'm fine now."
Final notes: The Trojans practice at 4 p.m. on Wednesday and 2:15 p.m. on Thursday before flying ou to Minnesota. ...Orgeron broke his foot during practice last week and aggravated it when he ran up the tunnel on Saturday for the Virginia game. Tuesday, Orgeron was sporting a pair of crutches while he coached his linemen.
Kiffin addressed a media horde at the conclusion of practice. Skipping past the Bush comments, here's what he had to say about the Trojans' play on the field Tuesday:
Quarterback Matt Barkley also spoke to reporters and talked about a host of topics, ranging from Bush's decision to return the trophy, his starting receivers Ronald Johnson and Robert Woods stepping up in recent days and more.
The video begins with Barkley's assessment of why his big misses happened Tuesday, including the overthrow of a wide-open Johnson that Kiffin has lamented multiple times since the game.