Thursday, September 16, 2010
Thursday practice report: Breakdown
By Pedro Moura
Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's practice, the Trojans' last before departing for Minnesota:
For the third consecutive week, USC's final practice on Howard Jones Field before gameday was an uninspired affair. It happened on Tuesday, Aug. 31 -- two days before the Hawaii game. It happened on Thursday, Sept. 9 -- two days before Virginia. And it happened Thursday, two days before the Trojans are set to take on Minnesota. Coach Lane Kiffin again termed the Trojans' performance on Thursday as "OK," just as he did last week. The offense again did not look particularly sharp, with balls frequently being tipped up in the air and three interceptions made by the defense.
Injury report: defensive end Nick Perry (ankle), defensive tackle Armond Armstead (shoulder) and tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) were listed as limited, and linebacker Simione Vehikite was again listed as out.
On-field highlight: The final play of practice was a good one, with sophomore middle linebacker Devon Kennard jumping in front of Blake Ayles on a Matt Barkley pass and picking it straight off.
About Cameron, the redshirt senior tight end was reported by Kiffin to have suffered his concussion near the end of the game on Virginia's onside kick attempt. But Cameron confirmed Thursday that the injury indeed happened earlier in the game and was simply worsened on that play. It first happened in the third quarter, when Cameron caught a key pass on fourth-and-one play and immediately moved downfield, gaining 12 yards and getting smushed in the process. We'll have more on him further down.
Said Barkley of the Minnesota defense, which the Trojans have been watching on film for much of the past five days: "They have a strong linebacker corps, good big guys -- not a lot of experience, though, and we're gonna try to expose some of that."
Senior cornerback Shareece Wright, the leader of USC's young secondary, on why the Trojans seemed to be coming up with more turnovers in practice this week, including three Thursday: "We're just emphasizing it more. We're realizing that we need to get turnovers -- we've been on the field way too much to not have that many turnovers. We have one interception so far, but we're gonna need more than that. To be a great defense you've gotta get turnovers, and that's what we're trying to be." Wright added that Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber did not run the Wildcat offense in much of the film that the Trojans' defense saw of the Gophers, but said he does expect Minnesota to use that scheme on Saturday -- perhaps alluding to what Hawaii did in the season opener against USC.
Final notes: USC was to arrive in Minneapolis late Thursday. The Trojans will spend Friday preparing for a 2:30 p.m. CST start on Saturday. ... Defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron, nursing a broken foot suffered in practice last week, will coach from the sideline at TCF Bank Stadium.
Kiffin addressed the media in an abbreviated session Thursday afternoon, hastened by the fact the Trojans had a quick bus trip to make to Los Angeles International Airport, where their flight departed early in the evening.
See what he had to say:
Cameron, who caught the first touchdown of his college career against Virginia on a four-yard touchdown pass from Barkley in the second quarter, credited USC's team doctors for taking good care of his head injury.
He says he expects to play against the Gophers but won't unless he's "completely OK." See what else he had to say Thursday, including his worthwhile description of how the injury occurred and how it felt to watch tape of the onside kick play -- considering he doesn't fully remember how it all went down: