Practice notes: Sept. 13

Following victories over Minnesota and Utah in weeks one and two, USC prepares to host Syracuse, a team it hasn’t faced since 1990, at the Coliseum on Saturday.

  • Sophomore linebacker Marquis Simmons was in street clothes and a neck brace after being injured in the Utah game. But he appeared in good spirit, as he horsed around with his defensive teammates.
  • Redshirt freshman Anthony Brown is challenging both sophomore Torin Harris and junior Tony Burnett at cornerback. “He’s physical and a good tackler,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. Kiffin also said Brown would get reps at nickel back should he not win a starting corner spot outright.
  • The offensive line is still in shuffle at both guard spots. “We’re going to give the young guys a shot,” Kiffin said. As such, true freshmen Aundrey Walker and Marcus Martin took snaps with the first team today.
  • Following his 24 carry, 117 yard performance on Saturday, senior tailback Marc Tyler was determined not to get a hot head. “If I don’t start that doesn’t really bother me,” Tyler said. “I’m not really (in a position) to say anything right now. Just shut up and when they put me in, play hard.”
  • Tyler also said he approaches the game with new enthusiasm this year, saying that he’s “more mentally tough this year, because of everything I’ve been through. Last year I would get one touchdown and be satisfied the rest of the game. Just thinking ‘Ah yeah, I got a touchdown.’ This year I’m trying to stick out the whole game.”
  • Kiffin did not name a starting tailback, with Tyler, redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan, junior Curtis McNeal and sophomore Dillon Baxter all in the mix.
  • Freshman punter Kris Albarado will redshirt, Kiffin said Tuesday, meaning junior walkon Kyle Negrete will not have to compete for the spot. Negrete’s punts were not exactly picturesque on Saturday, but Kiffin said it made more sense to save Albarado’s eligibility and keep him four full years.