Thursday, August 11, 2011
Fall camp practice No. 8 tidbits
By Pedro Moura
Two main stories out of the seventh day of fall camp Wednesday, a two-practice affair: Wes Horton is impressing his position coach, Ed Orgeron, at both defensive end and defensive tackle, and injuries are starting to take their toll on the Trojans, although they've stayed away from major things at this point. Here's the rest of what went on at Howard Jones Field in the night session, as we recapped the morning session here:
Woods doing better
Robert Woods had his best practice of the fall Wednesday night, looking like the Woods of old with his non-stop motor, crisp routes and consistent hands.
But he needed a little prodding to get there. Trojans coach Lane Kiffin had said earlier Wednesday that Woods has so far not yet taken the next step this camp -- meaning he hasn't been quite as impressive as he was last fall and in the spring.
"He's been good, not great," Kiffin said Wednesday. "We've gotta make sure that we're pushing him and that he's still pushing himself, to make sure that he's going to the next level -- not just being one of the top freshmen in America but being one of the top receivers, period, in America.
"We'll continue to do that."
Part of the issue with Woods may be the sprained ankle he suffered the day before the Spring Game in April while playing pick-up basketball that forced him to sit out of the game and cut down on his training time in the aftermath. Two months later, in late June, he said the ankle was still bothering him.
Then, earlier this week, when asked if he was finally feeling better on that front, Woods was non-committal.
"I'm just out here doing what I can, you know," Woods said. "If Kiffin puts me in I just try to execute and get the job done -- ankle sore or not sore."
Marines make appearance
Nearly two dozen Marines currently in between tours of duty in Afghanistan visited practice Wednesday. Members of the 1st Radio Battalion based in Camp Pendleton, they watched intently from the east sideline throughout the session and could often be overheard discussing football tactics.
After practice, Kiffin spoke to his players for an extended period of time with the Marines joining them in their circle. The head coach was also presented with a plaque and thanked for his time.
Quarterback Matt Barkley also spent some time talking with them after most of the players and coaches had left the field.
Cornerback Isiah Wiley came up with an interception in the end zone on a pass from a running back. Freshman running back Amir Carlisle had some nice runs despite missing practice earlier in the day with a quad strain, and he again earned Kiffin's praise after the session for not acting like a freshman.
Other top plays: defensive end Nick Perry twice batted down balls from Barkley at the line of scrimmage, the second time managing to tip it to himself and corral it for an interception. Kiffin had an exasperated reaction to the second play.
Wednesday's injury report is covered in this post, although there are a few more minor things to update: Cornerback Tony Burnett (ankle) practiced sparingly, and walk-on defensive end Zack Kusnir is using a walking boot and is unable to practice.
Receiver Markeith Ambles was absent from Wednesday's night practice, as he has been for the first eight sessions of fall camp. But he was spotted in Heritage Hall after practice ended. Kiffin said Ambles will not practice until he's received his summer-school grades back, an odd proclamation considering running back Curtis McNeal has been allowed to practice all camp despite the same circumstances . . . On the topic of McNeal, Kiffin did say that the "information we have" at the moment indicates he will be eligible, eventually, but it's still not a done deal . . . Freshman Javorious 'Buck' Allen and Junior Pomee have yet to arrive on campus. Kiffin originally said he expected them to arrive as soon as last weekend.