Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Tuesday practice report: Breakdown
By Pedro Moura
Notes, quotes and video from Tuesday's practice:
It was a turnover-free day for the Trojans -- but not a mistake-free one, with balls dropped left and right by receivers, including a rare mistake by freshman Robert Woods. Coach Lane Kiffin said he was hoping to have the heat of the past few days in Los Angeles stay around for the evening practice, but the temperature dropped a significant amount in the late afternoon. "Hopefully it'll be hot again tomorrow," he said, implying that intensity rises as the temperature does.
Injury report: defensive ends Nick Perry (ankle) and Armond Armstead practiced fully (shoulder), defensive end Wes Horton (back) and cornerback T.J. Bryant (undisclosed) were limited and linebacker Simione Vehikite (neck) did not practice.
Perry played Saturday against Washington State; Armstead did not. Still, both look to be easily on track to play this weekend against Washington. Horton is a much bigger question mark. He said after Tuesday's practice that he was going to visit with a team doctor to get an updated prognosis on his injury, suffered when he was accidentally kicked in the back by Perry during the WSU game. Horton added that he is still "a little bit" sore but hopes to play.
Linebacker Michael Morgan talked about the discipline necessary to contain Washington quarterback Jake Locker, a highly-touted player who could go No. 1 overall in next April's NFL draft. In USC's defense, the linebackers are typically in a zone scheme. Accordingly, when Locker scrambles in and out of the pocket, he frequently tempts players to leave the areas they are expected to cover and gamble on tackling him in the open field. It often doesn't work and can sometimes open up throwing lanes. "He's a great athlete, and we understand that," Morgan said. "But he has a hell of an arm, that's for sure. We know we've gotta respect his passing game as well, but we know we've gotta focus on the run because in the past few games, like in Hawaii, the quarterbacks have scrambled on us a little bit."
Quarterback Matt Barkley said Washington's blitz packages and defensive line stunts are very similar to what the Trojans themselves run -- which would make sense, seeing as Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt held the same post at USC from 2006 to '08. But Barkley also said that the Huskies' defense seems to share parts with Minnesota's, which would give the Trojans an extra benefit, having just played the Golden Gophers. "They do blitz a lot," Barkley said of Washington, "which we have great practice against because we've been going against almost every blitz this whole year."
Final notes: Freshman quarterback Jesse Scroggins is portraying Locker this week in scout-team drills, the first time he has done so for an opposing quarterback this season. Kiffin indicated that Scroggins is more mobile than walk-on John Manoogian, who usually does the job. ... Six walk-ons have joined the squad: receivers Nic Curry, Tim McGuigan and Kevin Noble, linebacker Austin Rittenour, cornerback William Rojas and defensive tackle Tyler Grady. Grady was a discus thrower on USC's track & field team this past spring.
Kiffin spoke after Tuesday's practice and provided plenty of information on this week's game, including a humorous exchange about his and Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian's comments to the media.
See what Kiffin had to say:
Fullback Stanley Havili was the star of Saturday's win over Washington State, but this week's opponent quickly erased thoughts of that game and brought back memories of the Trojans' 2009 loss to Washington.
In that game, Havili fumbled after catching a swing pass in the red zone -- just as USC was set to take the lead with the game at 10-10. See what Havili said Tuesday about that crucial error and about his ongoing friendship with Sarkisian: