Practice Notes: Aug. 30
No. 25 USC has begun preperations for its season opener Saturday against Minnesota.
- Redshirt junior guard Abe Markowitz and redshirt sophomore wide receiver DeâVon Flournoy missed practice, while freshman runningback Amir Carlisle had to leave early. Coach Lane Kiffin said he is expected to be back tomorrow.
- Kiffin said on injuries, âWeâre relatively healthy for the most part, which is good. We lost some guys for the season earlier in camp because of the hitting. But I think weâre more physical because of it.â
- Much of the talk was about Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray. A converted wide receiver, Gray was compared to Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas by USC junior safety T.J. McDonald.Â âItâs gonna be a good challenge,â McDonald said. âWe gotta make sure when [Gray] gets outside the pocket we keep the pressure on their receivers.âÂ McDonald also talked about the size of Gray, whoâs listed at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds.
- âWe canât give him any second chances when we tackle,â McDonald said. âWe gotta make sure to wrap him up and take him to the ground.âÂ Kiffin also talked about the size of Gray, saying âHeâs not just a mobile quarterback, heâs big, physical. Heâs 240 pounds, so weâre gonna have our hands full here. âŠ This is a very big challenge for our defense right off the bat.â
- Jerry Kill is entering his first season as Minnesota coach after spending three years at the helm of Northern Illinois. But Kiffin said itâs not any extra trouble having to watch both teamâs game film.
- Kiffin reiterated Tuesday that no tailback has emerged as a clear starter but said that wasnât a huge issue because âthe goal coming into this game is to play a lot of guys.â
- Playing a lot of guys means there will be a lot of players getting their first-ever collegiate game experience on Saturday.
- âWe say youâre a true freshman until you play,â Kiffin said. âRegardless of how long youâve been here practicing. Thereâs gonna be a lot of big eyes Saturday. We gotta work through them, get a lot of guys in there, and see whoâs ready to go.
- Kiffin said there was no update on senior defensive end Armond Armstead but was hopeful he might be cleared this week.
- The other major defensive injury â that of senior linebacker Chris Galippo â is also a point of concern. Galippo has participated in full the last two practices, but Kiffin said âIâm still nervous about it. This is a lot different that a real game. The tempo of the game, all the hitting. Weâll throw him out there and hopefully heâll do well.â
- Finally, Kiffin said, although he feels more confident in his defense this year, he needs to see some on-field results. He said,Â âUntil you play it doesnât change very much. So I think even though we look better and we feel better and weâre bigger and stronger and faster and look like we tackle better, until we prove it it doesnât matter.â
- Junior quarterback Matt Barkley goes up against the defense every day in practice, referring to it as âSavvy. They got a bit of swag,â Barkley said. âEspecially the secondary. Thereâs a lot of leaders on this defense. âŠ All those guys I think feel a lot more comfortable with the schemes and what theyâre doing, where they can just play ball”