USC: Da'John Harris

Film study: Arizona

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
7:24
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Here’s the fourth post in our new ‘film study’ series started last week.

Every other day from now until Aug. 23, we’ll be putting up a set of pertinent-to-this-year notes from each game, going of course in chronological order from the Minnesota season opener to the UCLA season finale. At the end, on Aug. 25, we’ll have one last post with our overall takeaways from the re-watching. By then, it’ll be the week of this year’s opener.

We've already done USC’s 19-17 win over Minnesota, 23-14 win over Utah, 38-17 win over Syracuse and 44-23 loss to Arizona State. Here, now, are our five notes — four big things and a bunch of little ones — from USC’s 48-41 win over Arizona on October 1, 2011.

Letting up

The Trojans led this game 17-0 at one point and 34-12 midway through the third quarter. It should never have gotten to the point that it did in the final minutes, when USC had to recover an onside kick to avoid possible overtime.

In particular, USC's defense on Arizona's final drive was just bad.

Even with a penalty, it only took the Wildcats six pass attempts (and five completions) to go 53 yards against the Trojans in those final minutes. On first-and-goal at the USC 4-yard line with 1:06 to go, Arizona's Nick Foles threads the needle with ease through Shane Horton, Chris Galippo and T.J. McDonald to complete a touchdown pass to Austin Hill at the back of the end zone.

And, earlier, the Wildcats ran 24 plays to the Trojans' 10 in the third quarter. A team entering a period with a 17-point advantage should not be giving up those kind of numbers.

Lee breaks out

This was Marqise Lee's official breakout game, and, as you might expect, it was helped in large part by the dominant play of Robert Woods, who had a ridiculous 255-yard day.

On Lee's 33-yard touchdown catch near the end of the first quarter, Arizona's defenders are drawn out of position by Woods to leave Lee literally wide open in the end zone. It was a masterful play call by Lane Kiffin considering how the game had gone to that point.

One mistake by Lee: He didn't fight for the ball well enough on a slant route he ran in the third quarter, when he was targeted by Barkley. Arizona's Shaquille Richardson jumped the route, but Lee could have done a better job of preventing the interception.

Still, a telling move from him came at the end of the third, when he broke a nice 14-yard gain off a short pass from Matt Barkley but was tackled by his shoestrings as he developed eyes for the end zone. He slammed his hands on the ground repeatedly after the play.

Lee nearly scored two plays later, when he leaped to catch a 45-yard pass from Barkley and hurt his left shoulder as he fell to the ground at the 1-yard line. He was back in the game two possessions later.

McDonald's two picks

T.J. McDonald got really, really lucky in this game.

It's not often you get two interceptions to fall into your hands in one quarter. The junior safety had three picks all season, and two of them came within a five-minute stretch of the first quarter against the Wildcats.

And, to make matters crazier, Foles hadn't thrown a single one on the year heading into the game.

Other than those, though, McDonald still had his best game yet, producing six tackles and breaking up a key deep pass in the fourth that could have changed the outcome.

Pass rush problems

USC had only one sack all game against the Wildcats, who had previously had a lot of trouble keeping Foles off the ground.

Guess who had the sack? The Trojans' only real pass-rusher, Nick Perry. He was really the only one producing pressure on Foles throughout the game, with a little bit of DaJohn Harris mixed in.

That's how Foles was able to complete 41 of 53 passes for 425 yards. The problem had plagued the Trojans in each of their games before this one, but it really came to a head here.

With both Perry and Harris gone in 2012, it's going to be interesting to see who -- if anyone -- gets to opposing signal-callers.

Final notes: Once again, Brandon Carswell was the lead blocker on Woods' 82-yard catch-and-run touchdown early in the game. The senior receiver was by far the Trojans' best skill-position blocker. ... Anthony Brown had some really impressive open-field tackles, including one that was nullified by a personal-foul penalty on George Uko. ... Dion Bailey whiffed badly on an opportunity to quickly bring down Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey on his 27-yard scoring grab in the second quarter. ... Kiffin netted the Trojans three extra points with a smart decision to go for it on fourth down in no man's land at the end of the first half. ... This was not Kiffin's happiest day. He was irate at the officials on numerous occasions, including after one curious sideline interference call.

USC's undrafted players pick teams

April, 29, 2012
4/29/12
11:42
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Six 2011 USC Trojans have latched on to NFL teams via the undrafted free-agent wire as of Sunday morning.

Those include defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, who signed with the Tennessee Titans, and linebacker Chris Galippo, who agreed to terms with the Indianapolis Colts. Harris had been projected as a potential mid-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft but slipped because of health concerns, and Galippo had an outside shot of being selected entering the weekend.

The four others: receiver Brandon Carswell, who signed with the Oakland Raiders, long snapper Chris Pousson (Tampa Bay), defensive tackle Christian Tupou (San Diego) and running back Marc Tyler (Green Bay).

Nine players from the 2011 USC squad will have the opportunity to play in the NFL next season, with the six undrafted signees plus first-round draft selections Matt Kalil and Nick Perry and fourth-round pick Nick Perry.

The Trojans could have close to that many drafted next season, led by potential first-round selections Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and Robert Woods.

Rhett Ellison goes in fourth round to Vikings

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
3:47
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Former USC tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison is going to join his college teammate Matt Kalil at the next level.

Both ex-Trojans were picked by the Minnesota Vikings in this weekend's 2012 NFL draft, Kalil on Thursday as the fourth overall selection and Ellison on Saturday as the 128th overall selection, late in the fourth round.

It was right around where he was projected to go, but Ellison told Minnesota-area reporters in a conference call after his selection that it was a surprise to him.

"I wasn’t really expecting to get drafted," Ellison said. "I was pretty shocked and I’m still trying to calm everything down."

Ellison becomes USC's third selection of the 2012 draft after Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry, who went 28th overall to Green Bay. Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris is expected to be taken sometime Saturday.

Nick Perry goes No. 28 to the Packers

April, 26, 2012
4/26/12
9:04
PM PT
Nick Perry AP Photo/Michael ConroyUSC's Nick Perry impressed at the NFL combine and was picked by Green Bay at No. 28 in the first round.

USC defensive end Nick Perry was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 28 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft on Thursday.

A two-year starter for the Trojans, Perry was recruited to USC out of Detroit in 2008 as one of the nation's top-rated prospects. He never became a full-fledged star at the college level but lived up to his potential and led the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks in 2011.

In the Packers' 3-4 defensive scheme, Perry will likely play outside linebacker across from former USC end/linebacker Clay Matthews.

Perry becomes USC's 77th first-round draft pick, the most of any school in history. He was the second ex-Trojan drafted on the draft's first day Thursday after left tackle Matt Kalil, who went fourth overall to the Minnesota Vikings.

Both players departed for the draft after their redshirt junior seasons at USC.

USC has at least two more players expected to be selected at some point during the draft's next two days in tight end Rhett Ellison and defensive tackle DaJohn Harris and three or four others have hopes of being picked.

It's likely the Trojans won't have a player taken Friday, with only rounds two and three taking place then.

USC-centric NFL draft preview

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
6:35
AM PT

The 2012 NFL draft begins tomorrow, Thursday.

USC has two players expected to be taken in the first round, two more players who should definitely be picked at some point over the draft's three days and three other prospects who stand a chance of being selected.

We break down those seven players' draft stock here, in order of their projected selection:

LT Matt Kalil

The two-year USC starter was looked at as a virtual lock to go No. 3 overall to the Minnesota Vikings for quite some time, but there has been recent speculation that his stock is dropping. Still, an absolute worst-case scenario would have Kalil going sixth to St. Louis or seventh to Jacksonville. There's no way he falls out of the top eight, which would make him the highest USC selection since Mark Sanchez went fifth to the Jets in 2009.

DE Nick Perry

Scouts' and experts' opinions on Perry appear varied. Some have him scratching the top half of the first round and some have him falling near the end of the bottom half. The physical specimen still seems like a great bet to be picked at some point among the top 32 picks. One of the factors that will decide how he goes is whether teams will select him as a 4-3 end or 3-4 outside linebacker, which are both possibilities considering his skill set.

DT DaJohn Harris

Harris has some work-ethic issues and medical concerns with sleep apnea and a patent foramen ovale, but he also has the potential to be a starting defensive tackle at the next level, and that should get him picked somewhere in the fourth or fifth rounds, which means he'll probably have to wait until Saturday to be selected with the draft's format. Harris never had a truly consistent long stretch with the Trojans, but he showed flashes on a number of occasions.

(Read full post)

Five things we learned in Week 1, No. 4

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
2:24
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USC’s out on spring break this week and not practicing, but each weekday through Friday, we’ll bring you one thing we learned from the first three days of practice last week and what it might mean for the future.

Our first item covered Marqise Lee‘s continued progress, our second the new-look Aundrey Walker and third the situation at backup QB.


Fourth is this: All options will be explored in the interior of the defensive line.

It doesn't necessarily reflect the talent levels of the players who created them, but USC's biggest hole this offseason -- by far -- is at nose tackle.

Nick Perry had a natural replacement, as did DaJohn Harris in George Uko. Matt Kalil had a qualified candidate to replace him at left tackle, too, in Kevin Graf.

But Christian Tupou's spot? The natural person to step in would be J.R. Tavai, but it's clear he's not being looked at as an every-down option. Then there's Antwaun Woods, whose playing time seems to largely depend on his physical condition.

So what next? Ed Orgeron and the Trojans are looking every which way for potential options to fill the hole created by Tupou's departure. Defensive end Wes Horton worked out at tackle last season, but Orgeron said last week that was a failed experiment and will no longer be tried.

Now, defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. is getting time at the three-technique, which could presumably push Uko to nose if it works out. Redshirt freshman Christian Heyward is sitting out the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery, but he'll get a long look come fall camp to determine if he can contribute 20 or snaps a game.

One thing is clear: The nose tackle spot is going to be USC's biggest 2012 weakness, unless someone unexpectedly emerges. Tupou wasn't a high-profile contributor, but he rarely made mistakes and he was consistently on the field when healthy.

The Trojans could use a similar player this season, since Uko, Horton and Devon Kennard -- the other starting defensive linemen -- have the ability to produce enough quarterback pressure on their own.

Check back later Friday for the fifth and final thing we learned from the spring.

Combine wrap-up

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
8:14
PM PT
USC had seven players participate in the NFL combine, which officially concluded Tuesday in Indianapolis. Some of those players helped their stock significantly and some hurt it sizably. In order of projected draft selection, let's break down the performances:

LT Matt Kalil

Kalil did absolutely nothing to hurt his status as arguably the top non-quarterback in the draft and did a good amount to help it. Scouts were impressed with the 306 pounds on his 6-foot-7 frame, and his official 4.99 40-yard dash time was among the best for offensive linemen.

Reports from Indianapolis had him as the top performer in position-specific drills, too.

DE Nick Perry

We wrote a month ago that Perry could stand to benefit more from the combine than any other player in the country. That turned out to not be too far-fetched.

The defensive end bulked up to 270 pounds on his 6-3 frame for the event and managed to keep his 40-yard dash time under 4.6 seconds, according to multiple reports. An official time of 4.64 is still darn fast, especially when considering his 38.5-inch vertical leap.

Compare those numbers to what DeMarcus Ware, a college defensive end who now plays 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, put up in the 2005 combine: He measured in at 6-4 and 256 pounds, ran a 4.56 40 and jumped 38.5 inches.

Those are very similar. Ware beat Perry in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill, but Perry comfortably beat Ware in the bench press.

Ware went 11th overall to the Cowboys in 2005. Perry's going to go in the first round too.

DT DaJohn Harris

Harris didn't do the 40 or bench press or any of the other drills because of an unspecified injury, but he did measure in at 6-3 and 306 pounds, meaning he likely lost a good five or 10 pounds from his 2011 playing weight.

Still a potential third-rounder, USC's March 7 pro day is now an absolutely crucial event for Harris.

(Read full post)

More NFL combine invites for ex-Trojans

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
10:30
AM PT
Last we wrote, running back Marc Tyler and defensive tackle DaJohn Harris were the only two 2011 Trojans to receive official invitations to the NFL Combine later this month.

Now, we know, there have been three other former USC players invited to participate in the Feb. 22-Feb. 28 event: defensive tackle Christian Tupou, linebacker Chris Galippo and tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison. The three were asked later in the process than Tyler and Harris.

Left tackle Matt Kalil, a sure top-10 pick in April's NFL draft, has not yet been officially invited but is just about a guarantee to end up in Indianapolis for the festivities. Defensive end Nick Perry's situation is the same way.

Last month in Florida, Tyler and Harris played in the East-West Shrine Game, considered the second best college All-Star game played each offseason after the Senior Bowl. No Trojans were invited to that game, although Galippo and receiver Brandon Carswell did play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Game in Carson last month as well.

The 2012 NFL draft begins April 26.

Where USC's draft-eligible prospects stand

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
4:18
PM PT
USC has seven players who stand at least a decent chance of being selected in April's NFL draft. With none of them participating in this week's Senior Bowl and the four who played in all-star games already done with their commitments, we figured it's time to delve into where they could be selected and what kind of players they could be at the next level -- starting with the clear-cut top prospect.

LT Matt Kalil

Kalil is going to be a top-10 pick, no doubt about it. The only question with him is how high he'll go. Some draft prognosticators have him firmly entrenched in the No. 2 overall spot of the St. Louis Rams, where new coach and USC alum Jeff Fisher would use him to protect quarterback Sam Bradford, who is said to be the reason he picked the Rams job over other options.

He could also go third, sixth, ninth or 10th -- the teams picking in those spots all need offensive tackles. And potential pick trades could leave him going at any of the other slots, too.

DE Nick Perry

All season long, Perry was projected as a second- or third-round selection. Now that draft analysts are seeing his film, though, Perry has moved right up into the thick of the first-round mix. It's gotten to the point now where it'd be a surprise if he wasn't selected in the first round -- especially after next month's NFL Combine.

Is there anyone who stands to benefit more from next month's festivities than Perry? It's doubtful. He could run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, based on what he's run in college testing. And he'll put up superb bench-press and weight-room numbers for his 6-3, 250-pound frame.

There are only two questions, then: (1) Can he play defensive end in the NFL or is he better suited to a 3-4 outside linebacker spot? (2) How come he didn't produce a bit more with the Trojans? He never had the monster year he and others predicted he would have.

DT DaJohn Harris

It looks like Harris is going to be taken fairly high, which is interesting, because the 6-4, 310-pounder never produced on a consistent basis until his senior season at USC -- and, even then, he wasn't all that consistent in 2011.

But he is exactly the type of player who could emerge into a starting-caliber defensive tackle in the league. And, based on what he did over the weekend in the East-West Shrine Game, it appears likely he'll be a third- or fourth-round selection in April's draft.

(Read full post)

Catching up with Chris Galippo, Brandon Carswell

January, 22, 2012
1/22/12
3:27
PM PT
CARSON -- On the same day former USC Trojans Marc Tyler and DaJohn Harris competed in the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando to mostly-positive reviews, two ex-teammates played in a similar but less-heralded game in Southern California.

Linebacker Chris Galippo and receiver Brandon Carswell were both members of the winning National team at the first NFL Players' Association Collegiate Bowl in L.A. on Saturday, held at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Known as the Texas vs. the Nation game until 2011, the NFLPA game allowed select underclassmen to participate and NFL scouts were not allowed to attend because of a rule preventing them from scouting such players at college All-Star games. But all teams are getting copies of the game film from the game, and, in past years, a number of the players who took part in this game ended up being late-round selections in the NFL draft.

Galippo, projected as a late-round selection, played much of the game at middle linebacker for the 20-14 winners. He talked after the game about his life since his USC football career ended in November and how he's been preparing for the draft, among other topics.



Carswell, considered unlikely to be selected in April's draft, recorded one reception for 22 yards and also showcased some of his trademark blocking. During the week of practices, he made noise with his willingness to go deep down the field to block for his teammates, and he did the same thing in Saturday's game.

Here he is on the field after the game, talking over his pre-draft regimen, the one class he has to finish in the spring semester to get his college degree and what he thought of the bowl-game experience.

Top 10 performers, No. 9: Tupou

December, 13, 2011
12/13/11
7:36
AM PT
After concluding our series on the top 10 moments of USC's 2011 football season, we begin this week with a brand-new series on the Trojans' top 10 performers this year. With one player per day Monday-Friday, the list will last until Friday, Dec. 23.

Coming in at No. 10 Monday was safety T.J. McDonald. Here's No. 9: defensive tackle Christian Tupou.

Let's get this out of the way, first off. As we mentioned in Monday's series-starting post, this isn't a straight-up list of USC's 10 best players.

It's a list of the most valuable players, meaning it adds in what the team would look like and how it would do without the given player in the lineup. That's why McDonald came in lower than some might expect -- the Trojans' defense didn't have any issues when Drew McAllister subbed in for him in the first half of the Colorado game.

Now, about Tupou, it's hard to overstate the impact he had on USC's season. Of the four spheres of football -- passing and rushing offense and passing and rushing defense -- the Trojans' second-best was their run defense, after the passing game of course.

The player absolutely most responsible for that success -- and improvement from the previous season -- is Tupou. The senior nose tackle was instrumental on the defensive line, providing about the steadiest-possible influence in stopping the run and clogging up blockers to enable pass rush.

His statistics weren't flashy. Actually, they were downright terrible -- the guy had eight solo tackles and 16 total tackles in 12 starts this season and didn't record a single sack, tackle for loss or pass defensed.

(Read full post)

Going out prematurely, but on top

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
11:38
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LOS ANGELES -- The Pac-12 should have rolled out a big podium and presented UCLA with its South division trophy on the floor of the Coliseum after USC’s 50-0 win Saturday night. Commissioner Larry Scott could have handed Rick Neuheisel a microphone for his acceptance speech.

Wouldn’t that have been fun? The perfect snapshot of the farce this conference foisted on us all this year.

Then again, UCLA still gets to “represent” the South next week in Eugene, Ore., another chance to make the conference look ridiculous.

USC players and coaches might watch that game Friday night, have a chuckle or two along with the rest of the country. They won’t be playing in it, of course, even though it could have been an electric rematch. The Pac-12 lined up behind the NCAA and stripped the Trojans of any opportunity to play postseason football two Junes ago.

So, Saturday was the final statement the Trojans get to make this year when it looks like they have so much more left to say. At least their final phrase was definitive.

“Neuheisel said it best. They closed the gap,” USC defensive tackle DaJohn Harris said. “I don’t see it, but that’s what they said.”

USC isn’t just the best team in this division right now. It looks like it will sit on top of the thing for a decade or two.

But who cares about that? By the end of the season it was probably the best team west of the Rockies. Let this thing play out a little longer and the Trojans might have given any team in the country a battle. It’s rare you see a team improve in such a straight line, week by week, from mediocre in early fall to a machine by Thanksgiving.

Heading into next season, if a few juniors (or one in particular) come back, USC (10-2, 7-2 in Pac-12) will be a national title contender. Even if all four of them bolt, they should be Top 15 with a shot at something magical.

Wouldn’t you have loved to see USC wrap up this sensational 2011 season with a bowl game against Arkansas or Georgia or one of those other SEC teams that everyone is always telling us is so tough? Instead, we had to hold our hands over our eyes and peek at Saturday’s sad spectacle of a once-vibrant rivalry.

I don’t feel sorry for USC’s players any longer. You got the sense all year they were having a blast showing everybody USC is still USC, that no matter what the NCAA does, it can’t make them play slower or dumber or with less pride. And, what’s more, they liked each other, which helped them enjoy it that much more.

“This is the closest team I’ve ever been on,” said left tackle Matt Kalil.

The Senior Night ceremony Saturday was nice, but short. It was mostly walk-ons and special-teams players who got to come out of the tunnel and hug coach Lane Kiffin. The core of this team isn’t going anywhere. In fact, many of this team’s best players will be juniors and sophomores next year, their learning curves just beginning to climb.

By early in the third quarter, USC fans were chanting “One more year!” and Matt Barkley had to hear it. He was backed up near his own end zone, just a few dozen yards for the student section. In the fourth quarter, after the defense stuffed UCLA on fourth down to preserve the shutout, Barkley sprinted 40 yards onto the field, leapt and chest-bumped safety T.J. McDonald.

Barkley came to USC because he wanted to play in the NFL and after Saturday’s performance -- 35-for-42 for 432 yards and six touchdowns -- he looks like he could have left the Coliseum and driven to a hotel near the closest NFL stadium and started Sunday. He doesn’t have much left to prove at this level. Even Kiffin expects him to go.

But, if he does leave, he will feel it somewhere deep, the opportunity he’s leaving behind. The love from the fans in these past few games reminded him. The crackling chemistry he’s found with Marqise Lee and Robert Woods will tease him if he goes. It looks like they’re playing a video game out there.

It takes a certain kind of person to perform at the highest level without the hint of a reward at the end. This team had every excuse imaginable at hand -- transfers, the lack of a bowl game, negative publicity -- and didn’t seem to care.

So, yeah, one team of champions did walk off the field Saturday night.

Game-time updates: UCLA-USC

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
7:08
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- We're about set to go here at the Coliseum for the Trojans' 5 p.m. PT game against Oregon. Here are a couple of last-minute things worthy of an update before kickoff:
  • The crowd and the atmosphere around the Coliseum has the look of the Stanford game more than any of the other contests this season, meaning it actually looks like the stadium will be close to filled and fairly electric by kickoff. A 7 o'clock kickoff allowed for more tailgating time and more time to get in the building, but it also presented added challenges for USC's security systems. The two schools announced earlier in the week that they were bringing on more than a 25-percent increase in security forces for the game.
  • Injury updates: Cornerback Nickell Robey (foot) looked ready to go in pregame warmups after missing some of Thursday's practice. Six players who had missed some portions of practice during the week -- receiver Robert Woods (ankle/shoulder), running back Curtis McNeal (knee), defensive end Devon Kennard (foot) and linebackers Dion Bailey (ankle), Lamar Dawson (ankle) and Hayes Pullard (undisclosed) -- all appeared healthy in warmups.
  • The only player out for the Trojans who was in doubt for this game is defensive tackle J.R. Tavai (ankle), the freshman who had taken on an increased role in recent weeks when defensive tackle DaJohn Harris was bothered by an ankle injury. Tavai was in sweats before the game, meaning Harris, Christian Tupou and George Uko will have to take all the snaps at the two tackle spots.
  • On the uniforms: As expected, UCLA broke out the all-white uniforms for Saturday's game. One twist to the blue-numbered jerseys: There are no names on the backs. Also as expected, USC stayed with its normal cardinal-and-gold home uniforms, despite some rumors that the Trojans would contrast the Bruins and go with all-blacks.
Join us here on the USC Report on ESPNLA.com beginning just before game time as Arash Markazi, Ramona Shelburne, Peter Yoon, Mark Saxon and I keep you updated throughout the game in Trojans Live!, an interactive live chat where we provide updates on game action and answer any and all questions.

Good news on the injury front

November, 24, 2011
11/24/11
1:10
PM PT
Only one player is expected to miss Saturday's game against UCLA after getting hurt last week against Oregon: defensive tackle J.R. Tavai, who has a sprained left ankle and sat out of Thursday's practice with his foot in a boot.

Everybody else practiced, including receiver Robert Woods (ankle/shoulder), running back Curtis McNeal (knee), defensive end Devon Kennard (foot), defensive tackle DaJohn Harris (ankle) and linebackers Dion Bailey (ankle), Hayes Pullard (undisclosed) and Lamar Dawson (ankle), who have all been limited or out at some point in this week.

Cornerback Nickell Robey sat out of the end of practice with an apparent foot injury but didn't seem too bothered. USC coach Lane Kiffin said he'd be fine.

Kiffin said he expected everybody but Tavai to play "no matter what" because of the magnitude of the game but added that he and his staff would wait until game-time Saturday to make final determinations on their readiness.

Game-time updates: USC-Oregon

November, 19, 2011
11/19/11
5:04
PM PT
EUGENE, Ore. -- We're about set to go here at Autzen Stadium for the Trojans' 5 p.m. PT game against Oregon. Here are a couple of last-minute things worthy of an update before kickoff:
  • It's in the low 40's here, with a kickoff temperature of about 42 expected, per Weather.com. Chances of a rain or snow shower have decreased over the weekend, and it's now considered very likely it'll stay dry all game. It should be in the mid-30's by the time the fourth quarter comes around.
  • Oregon is expected to sport what the Ducks call their "ninja" uniforms tonight, meaning everything is in black: helmets, jerseys, pants, socks, shoes and gloves. The Trojans were wearing their normal road uniforms in pregame warmups.
  • USC receiver Robert Woods, who has been bothered by ankle and shoulder injuries the past few weeks, looked as good as possible in warmups. He looks like a great bet to start despite Lane Kiffin's comments questioning that possibility this week.
  • Other players who missed time for the Trojans this week, left tackle Matt Kalil and defensive tackles Christian Tupou and DaJohn Harris, also appeared ready to play during warmups. It seems like USC took a bit of an NFL approach in getting them ready for this game.
  • In attendance at Autzen are a number of prominent NBA players, no doubt connected to Oregon through Nike and Phil Knight. Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul all appeared on the field a half-hour before kickoff to much fanfare form the Ducks crowd. They'll stay on the Oregon sideline during the game.

Join us here on the USC Report on ESPNLA.com beginning just before game time as Mark Saxon and I keep you updated throughout the game in Trojans Live!, an interactive live chat where we provide updates on game action and answer any and all questions.

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