Trojans up practice intensity

Even though No. 10 USC is playing one-win Colorado team on Saturday, it stepped up its intensity in Tuesday’s practice.

“We probably had our most physical practice that we’ve had all season right now,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “We have a lot of work to do. We really challenged them and they responded this morning.”

Record setter · Junior wide receiver Robert Woods is four catches away from breaking Keyshawn Johnson’s school record for receptions. – Carlo Acenas | Daily Trojan

USC is looking forward to playing in the Coliseum this weekend, as it is currently only one of two teams nationally to have played just two home games this season.

“We’re excited to come back to L.A.,” Kiffin said. “It’s a sold-out crowd on Saturday, we’ll have great energy in the Coliseum.”

Junior wide receiver Robert Woods agreed with the sentiment that a game at the Coliseum will be welcomed.

“I’m excited to play at home,” Woods said. “We finally get cheers instead of boos.”

There were a couple position battles that took center stage Tuesday. Along with rotating several players for the second starting cornerback spot, Kiffin announced that freshman Max Tuerk took reps with the first-team offense at left tackle, rotating with sophomore Aundrey Walker. Walker has been the most penalized Trojan in 2012, leaving the competition open for another week.

Another major problem for USC thus far has been their poor play on third down. USC’s third down conversion rate stands at 30.1 percent, the fifth worst percentage in the country.

“We haven’t made the plays when they’ve been there,” Kiffin said. “We’re missing calls on some protections. But, coming home should help.”

Senior quarterback Matt Barkley believes Trojan miscues have led to the poor percentage.

“A lot of the penalties have killed us,” Barkley said. “Whether it’s false starts on third and short or third and long situations.”

In other Trojan news, Woods is only four catches shy of breaking the school record for receptions, held by former wideout Dwayne Jarrett. In all likelihood, he will break that record Saturday against the Buffaloes.

“It would mean a lot to me,” Woods said. “Growing up watching all of the USC receivers … to be on the top of the list would be an honor and privilege.”