Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Tuesday practice report: Breakdown
By Pedro Moura
Notes, quotes and video from Tuesday's practice:
The injury report was so long, we'll split it up into two sections. First, those unable to practice: defensive end Wes Horton (back), linebackers Shane Horton (groin) and Malcolm Smith (knee), running back Dillon Baxter (toes) and right tackle Tyron Smith (undisclosed) all sat out and were listed as "out" by coach Lane Kiffin; tight end Jordan Cameron (knee) also did not appear to do any work in practice but was not listed on the report. Baxter, who underwent X-rays on the toes of his left foot Sunday, said he was set to find out results just after practice. He was still sporting crutches and wearing a boot on the injured foot.
And the "limited" group, who participated to varying extents: defensive end Nick Perry (ankle), cornerback Shareece Wright (ankle), guards Khaled Holmes and Butch Lewis, left tackle Matt Kalil and receiver and Brice Butler.
In the first position change in quite a while, freshman Christian Thomas has been moved from defensive end to tight end. Thomas was considered a tight end coming out of high school and spent the first week of fall camp at that spot before switching over to end because of a need at the position. But with Cameron out of commission for the time being, the Trojans are in need of depth at tight end other than starter Rhett Ellison and backup Blake Ayles.
Quarterback Matt Barkley had high praise for Cal's defensive unit Tuesday, calling the Bears "probably the best defense" the Trojans will have faced to this point in the season. But there is an inherent advantage in playing them this week, he said: "It's an easy transition from last week, because, structurally on defense, they're really similar to Stanford." Both teams are able to switch from a particular 3-4 scheme to other arrangements just before the snap -- an aspect that can severely confuse inexperienced offenses and quarterbacks. Said Barkley: "We just have to be on point with knowing what front it is or what checks need to be made."
Freshman receiver Robert Woods, on the aftermath of viewing the film from his 12-catch, 224-yard, three-touchdown performance against Stanford: "I watched it and I was kinda impressed but then I noticed a lot of flaws in my catching. I noticed I was catching a lot with my body instead of my hands. And that resulted in a couple of my drops. I know for next week I gotta make sure I use my hands and practice it throughout this week." He's right; Kiffin corroborated that statement. Woods interestingly dropped the first pass he was thrown on the night in the exact fashion he described but rebounded within minutes to make two catches on USC's first drive.
With Smith out, redshirt junior Chris Galippo is filling his stead at weakside linebacker in practice. While Kiffin refused to address how the coaching staff would go about readying Galippo to start at that spot until later in the week, Galippo said Smith has already helped him with some of the differences in the two positions. Of course, Galippo lost his starting spot at middle linebacker to Devon Kennard this season, but he has recently begun to find his way onto the field for more playing time -- including last Saturday's game against Stanford, when he essentially split series with Kennard and earned the nod on Stanford's final series. Galippo takes the added responsibility in stride, and uses last year's failures as a way to "As an older guy who was here last year, I unfortunately had the experience of learning how to lose and how to deal with that as a competitor and as an athlete," he said Tuesday. "As someone who considers himself a veteran now, sometimes you gotta deal with that. It's a game -- it's not always gonna be perfect, but it's about how you deal with it and how you rebound that really shows your character."
Final notes: Cal coach Jeff Tedford had this to say about USC: "They're about five seconds from being 6-0 so they're still a great team."... This is now the third week of practice that Wes Horton has missed -- all because of an accidental kick to the back from fellow end Perry during the Washington State game.
Per usual, Kiffin spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice.
See what he had to say, including his comments on Cal's much-improved defense:
Smith spoke candidly Tuesday about the injury he suffered during the first series of the Stanford game after he made an impressive tackle, expressing some frustration with the irony that many of his injuries have come directly as a result of some of his bigger on-field successes.
See what the senior linebacker had to say about that, the possible steps to the transition Galippo would need to take to replace him this week and other topics: