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Tuesday, October 11, 2011
QB Scroggins returns to practice

By Pedro Moura

Backup quarterback Jesse Scroggins, sidelined since mid-August because of surgery on the thumb  of his throwing hand, returned to USC practice for the first time since his injury Tuesday.

He did some individual activities but sat out of team drills and will not make the trip up to Cal on Wednesday, with the current plan being for him to potentially back up Barkley next week at Notre Dame.

"Jesse is back out here throwing, he's clear to go which is great," Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said Tuesday. "So we'll throw him right back into the mix so hopefully we can be the backup."

In Scroggins' absence, freshman Cody Kessler has emerged as the backup to Barkley, although Kiffin has said that walk-on John Manoogian would be the guy if Barkley only needed an end-of-game break at some point. But it's likely that the coaches will follow through with the plan to redshirt Kessler, which would technically put Scroggins into position as the No. 2 guy.

A redshirt freshman, Scroggins likely won't be able to medically redshirt this season because of his midseason return. So he makes sense as a backup.

He said Tuesday that he felt close to back to normal already, even if he wasn't yet 100 percent and even if didn't participate fully in practice.

"It's not completely healed, but it's getting there," Scroggins said. "To me, all that stuff feels natural. I can go away for 10 months and still be able to do the same stuff I did 10 months before that.

"Everything's still there, I've never lost it."