USC: Peyton Manning
October, 14, 2010
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's practice:
- The mood at practice was clearly enthusiastic Thursday, especially in the final scrimmage drills that wrapped it up. On one particularly yell-inducing play, quarterback Matt Barkley dropped a Wildcat-formation pass from running back Marc Tyler when middle linebacker Devon Kennard closed in on him. If one key part was different than in past practices, it was a definite uptick in pressure from the defense line -- something the Trojans have been sorely lacking all season long. "The tempo was upbeat again," Barkley said afterward. "Guys were pumped up, guys were heated, and we need to continue that this weekend."
- Injury report: defensive end Wes Horton (back), linebacker Malcolm Smith (knee), running back Dillon Baxter (toes) and Jordan Cameron (knee) did not practice. Defensive end Nick Perry (ankle), linebacker Shane Horton (groin) and right tackle Tyron Smith were listed as limited. Cameron, who suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in the first half of the Stanford game but finished out the game, said the swelling has gone down significantly since Tuesday and, accordingly, he hopes to play against Cal on Saturday. "I think I'll be good," Cameron said Thursday. "I think I'll be ready to go."
- Baxter was still sporting crutches at practice, although he said afterward that all but one of the toes he originally sprained on his left foot have healed. The only one still hurting is his big toe, he said, which he hopes will be better within a few days. Baxter also talked about the throw to Stanley Havili from Tyler out of the Wildcat formation that missed by inches. As USC coach Lane Kiffin mentioned after the game, the play was designed to be thrown by Baxter -- but his injury just plays before it prevented him from being out there, and he wasn't happy about it. "Man, my crutches went everywhere," he said about the play. "I was hot. That was my play. But we're gonna come back. You'll see it again."
- Kiffin was asked about Cal defensive leader and linebacker Mike Mohamed, who was out for the Bears' only bad performance this season, a 52-31 loss to Nevada on the road on a Friday night last month. The coach dismissed that game from Cal simply as an aberration on defense. "I think that's he a real good tackler," Kiffin said first on Mohamed before switching gears. "But I don't really count that game. You see those games happen all the time. You go on the road, play a conference that's not a major conference and it's a Thursday or Friday night game. You follow that for years, those things happen. All the sudden you see the upsets when those teams go on the road. ... I really discount that game, especially because their offense is so different [than ours.] I look at the other games and what they've done and they've basically completely shut down everyone else they've played."