A lackluster effort defined practice for the second day in a row, according to USC coach Lane Kiffin, who mentioned a lack of intensity from his players on Wednesday.
“I don’t know whether it’s guys feeling good about themselves after a couple wins [and] not remembering [that] why we’ve played well lately is because we’ve practiced extremely well,” Kiffin said.
Kiffin said the coaching staff tried to up the intensity at the beginning of practice on Wednesday, and though the Trojans initially responded, they faded as practice wore on.
This is no time for a letdown as USC looks to finish off its season on a roll. The Trojans (7-3) can finish the season with 10 wins if they run the table in their final three games.
First stop is Corvallis, Ore., to face Oregon State on Saturday. The Trojans have not won in the state of Oregon in five years.
“I’ve lost every time I’ve gone up there, my whole career here,” senior center Kristofer O’Dowd said. “This is kind of the last one for me, so I’m giving every effort I can.”
The hype surrounding the matchup has lost traction after Washington State shocked the Beavers in Corvallis last week. Redshirt junior linebacker Chris Galippo said that the Trojans, however, aren’t expecting the challenge to be any easier.
“We know that this is [the] game of their season,” he said. “We understand that they’re going to be coming out with all bullets. For us, I think we’ve just got to play our game.”
Meanwhile, Galippo refused to buy in to any talk of an Oregon curse.
“It’s not the state of Oregon, it’s more of us controlling our game,” he said.
For that to happen, Kiffin said he wants to see a turnaround from the “disappointing” level of passion the Trojans have shown this week. Still, there is time to get back on track before game day.
“There’s still enough time for us to get right and get ready to go up there,” Kiffin said.
As the season nears its end, injuries seem to be catching up with the Trojans — especially in the secondary.
Junior cornerback T.J. Bryant has a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury he first suffered in high school and one that he said has been recurring since. Bryant, who did not practice, is awaiting the results of an MRI, which will determine if he will play again this season.
Sophomore safety Jawanza Starling, who missed last week’s game with a sore hamstring, sat out of practice Wednesday, as did redshirt freshman cornerback Torin Harris.
“Unfortunately we thought we were going to be getting healthier, but we seem to not be getting healthier,” Kiffin said. “But we’ll go [to Oregon State] with however many we can get on the plane.”