Vehikite returns to team after jailing
The most surprising development from Thursdayâ€™s practice was the re-instatement of redshirt junior linebacker Simione Vehikite to the roster for 2012. Vehikite missed spring practice due to ongoing legal issues stemming from a July 2011 incident where he left the scene of a car accident.
These issues resulted in Vehikite being sentenced to a year in jail in May for pleading no contest to two felony counts for driving with an .08 percent blood-alcohol level and causing injury.
Vehikite spent three months in jail this summer before being released earlier this week, and Kiffin confirmed that Vehikite received his scholarship back after re-joining the team this week.
â€śHe has done everything, fulfilling his obligation to the team to get back,â€ť Kiffin said of Vehikite, who took 20 units in the spring.Â Though he has returned, Kiffin indicated that Vehikite is unlikely to a play meaningful role this fall.
Though Kiffin did not discuss the current situation regarding USCâ€™s 75 scholarships in further detail, Vehikiteâ€™s return makes it unlikely that incoming freshman wide receiver Darreus Rogers will qualify academically for USC by the universityâ€™s official enrollment deadline of Sept. 14.
On the practice field, the Trojans ran through a relatively light routine on Thursday as they prepared for their home opener.
During coach Lane Kiffinâ€™s tenure, the Trojans have run a lighter practice designed to conserve player stamina on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the preseason and bye weeks. While Kiffin was unimpressed with Wednesdayâ€™s effort, he came away content with Thursdayâ€™s showing.
â€śI thought the guys were focused â€” very crisp, the offense especially,â€ť Kiffin said.
While Saturday begins a season in which a BCS national title is within reach, Kiffin is making sure to limit unnecessary displays of confidence. He especially focused on the Trojansâ€™ pregame routine and manner when they take the field before kickoff against the visiting Warriors on Saturday.
â€śEveryone wants their 40 minutes before kickoff to run around and get kind of fired up at each other in warm-ups and everything,â€ť Kiffin said. â€śWe just have to educate our guys and really guard against that, guard against losing energy.â€ť