Day two of the Lane Kiffin era was nearly identical to day one — lots of second teamers, lots of intensity and a heavy emphasis on discipline.
The Trojans still have more than a dozen players out of action, giving many of the second teamers an opportunity to get their reps in.
“It was a really good opportunity for those guys that need double reps to get better,” said coach Lane Kiffin.
Those second teamers filled in at a variety of positions, including center when junior Kris O’ Dowd went down with a knee injury. Details on the injury were sparse, but O’Dowd was held out of practice the rest of the day. He was expected to see a doctor soon after practice.
“We obviously don’t want to push him through, it being spring practice,” Kiffin said.
That same sentiment was extended to junior tight end Blake Ayles, who was held out of Tuesday’s practice.
Ayles participated in limited drills, but most of the tight end reps went to senior David Ausberry and fourth-year junior Jordan Cameron. Kiffin described the two as “the number one and two tight ends right now.”
Ausberry, a wide receiver for the last three seasons, was moved to tight end because the injury to Ayles and redshirt junior Rhett Ellison catching mononucleosis. The move is permanent for now, according to Kiffin, because “we just don’t have the numbers.”
Besides moving players to new positions, the team added 14 new walk-ons yesterday, and may be hosting an additional tryout in the future.
The intensity present on day one remained, in part thanks to a new special teams drill.
“It’s a kickoff-kickoff coverage drill,” special teams coach John Baxter said.
The first-year coach is looking to inject some intensity into special teams drills that usually lack it. The team was divided into four tribes, like in the TV show Survivor. The teams compete against each other and against themselves for points.
“The person with the least amount of points, the team as a whole has to vote them off,” said senior running back Allen Bradford, the captain of team Atlas.
As the captain, Bradford is responsible for maintaining the team flag, an elaborate drawing of Atlas holding up a football-shaped Earth. The competition encouraged by the game is designed to bring the team and the staff together, said defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
“Once we get to the fall, there’s only one flag that matters, and that’s the one with the ’SC on it,” Baxter said. The intensity built in the special teams drill was present throughout the defensively dominated practice.
Practice ended with the traditional 11 on 11 scrimmage, highlighted by redshirt junior defensive tackle Da’John Harris tipping a Matt Barkley pass and subsequently intercepting it.
“I’ve been dreaming about that play since I got here,” Harris said. “It was too perfect.”