Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Wednesday practice report: Breakdown
By Pedro Moura
Notes, quotes and video from Wednesday's practice:
Coach Lane Kiffin called practice "sloppy" -- never a good word to be thrown around by a head coach, especially during game week. But that's exactly what the Trojans were Wednesday, with near-turnovers across the board from the offense and the defense appearing to lack discipline on a number of occasions.
Injury report: Defensive end Wes Horton (back) and cornerback T.J. Bryant (undisclosed) were listed as "limited" after practice and offensive lineman Michael Reardon was out. Bryant appeared fine as he participated in a good amount of defensive drills, but Horton spent most of practice on the sideline.
Two big practice plays: Walk-on linebacker Will Andrew lit up freshman running back Dillon Baxter after he caught the ball in first-team offense vs. second-team defense drills and tight end Blake Ayles viciously juked safety Marshall Jones on his way to scoring a touchdown. Andrew's hit was only one of several times that Baxter was hit -- hard -- by the defense Wednesday, prompting jokes on the sideline that USC's no-tackling mantra applied to everyone except the true freshman. After Jones was beaten by Ayles, safeties graduate assistant Sammy Knight gave all the members of the secondary a lecture on the sidelines, appearing to say that other players were out of position on the play and thus left Jones hung out to dry.
Backup quarterback Mitch Mustain has been the Trojans' holder so far this season, getting quite a few chances to make something out of the point-after attempt with Kiffin's many calls to go for two. But even though Baxter would seem to be a natural choice if USC wants a dynamic player at that spot, Kiffin said Wednesday that Baxter will stay away from the spot for the time being. "We’re just trying to get Dillon to go to class, line up right and not fumble,” Kiffin said. “The last thing we’re going to do is let him do all our field-goal plays. There’s a lot of audibles that go with that. That’s why Mitch is in there.”
The majority of the talk -- from players, coaches and the media alike -- in advance of this weekend's game has been centered on quarterback Jake Locker and coach Steve Sarkisian's ties to the USC program. But Kiffin tried to shift some of that over to rest of the Huskies squad Wednesday. Said Kiffin: "As we continue to watch film, we continue to see how dangerous these guys can be, obviously because of the quarterback, running back and receiver on offense but on defense because...they bring people from everywhere."
About Locker, freshman quarterback Jesse Scroggins continues to portray the Washington senior in scout-team drills this week. Scroggins said Wednesday that he has learned through the process that the Washington senior is very competitive -- and very smart. "It's a privilege," Scroggins said of being chosen to play as Locker. "Basically, (the coaches) are giving you this role because they think you can play this role. To give it to a specific person, I think that's wonderful." We'll have more on Scroggins on Thursday.
Final notes: One more practice this week -- Thursday at 4 p.m. ... Neither Marc Tyler nor Allen Bradford have received word that they will start this week's game at running back, Kiffin said, and the players are still listed as co-starters on the depth chart. Last week, you may remember, the starting role at the position actually went to fullback Stanley Havili -- who took the game's first carry as a single back and rumbled 59 yards for a score.
Kiffin spoke to the media after practice, talking over the Trojans' jump in the rankings, that lack of discipline and how to fix it and a number of other topics.
See what he had to say:
Defensive end Armond Armstead missed the Washington State game because of a shoulder injury -- the same shoulder injury he played with against Minnesota the previous week.
Armstead said Wednesday that he would've played had it been a bigger game, and he also assessed the status of the defensive line at this point in the season.