LOS ANGELES -- It was another practice session on Dedeaux Field today as the Trojans hit the part of fall camp that Lane Kiffin called "the grind".
"It's this way for every team around the country," Kiffin said. "Guys are banged up. There is a mental and physical toll. Mental from learning the playbook, physical from coming out here and playing football. We don't get to work with them during the summer so no matter how much they do, it isn't playing football. You just can't simulate the physical part in the summer and it's different when the pads come on."
Kiffin confirmed that freshman defensive end DeVante Wilson tore his left ACL in practice yesterday, will need surgery and is out for the season.
"It's unfortunate," Kiffin said. "It was the other knee from the one that he hurt before last year. He had put together two good practices in a row before the injury. It's another hit to the defensive line but we'll just have to keep going."
The question of depth was brought up in regards to the Wilson injury and Kiffin replied, "We don't have a lot of it."
Kiffin said this proves the point that the team isn't going anywhere if the back-ups don't develop.
"This isn't a video game," Kiffin said. "We're not going to win just because we have good players. Look at the Philadelphia Eagles last year, the Dream Team. Hype doesn't mean anything. We need to develop the young guys and find a way to get a play here and a play there from those guys."
Freshman linebacker Jabari Ruffin took reps during a lineman pass rush drill at defensive end today, but Kiffin said he will remain at linebacker because the team has depth issues at that spot too. Ruffin had one impressive play in the drill when he bull-rushed and pushed Max Tuerk back several yards. In that same drill, the best rep went to George Uko when he absolutely bowled over Marcus Martin.
On the good news front, it was one of the better days for the passing game. Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and Victor Blackwell all made highlight type plays. Woods made a grab of a Max Wittek pass on a deep pass downfield when he went up to get the ball in between two defenders, Devian Shelton and Josh Shaw. There was also one nice Woods catch where Barkley hit him in stride and Woods showed the burst that USC fans are used to seeing. Blackwell caught a deep ball from Barkley, also against Shelton, and took it for a score. It was the best play we've seen from Blackwell this fall.
Soma Vainuku had a long run where he burst through the line and got behind the secondary. He was eventually caught downfield by Nickell Robey, but the play earned Vainuku a fist bump from running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu when he got back to the huddle. Javorious Allen also had a long gain on a screen pass from walk-on quarterback Emon Saee.
T.J. McDonald had a pick of Matt Barkley, who also happens to be his off-campus roommate. Tony Burnett caused a fumble by Xavier Grimble after a short catch and Demetrius Wright returned it for a 15-yard touchdown.
USC athletic director Pat Haden was in attendance with several members of his family. Both Anthony Brown and Allen took a moment from practice to walk over and say hello to meet everyone.
During a break in the action while music was blaring from the loudspeakers, 6-foot-9 offensive tackle Zach Banner took the opportunity to break into an Irish dance.