With T.J. McDonald suspended for the first half of Friday’s game and Starling missing Wednesday’s practice, Lane Kiffin said the Trojans could start two new safeties against the Buffaloes. Drew McAllister is already slated to start in place of McDonald, and Marshall Jones would get the nod if Starling is unable to go.
Robert Woods continues to be slowed by an ankle injury. He said he “close enough to 100 percent” and added that at this point in the season, nobody is 100 percent healthy. Kiffin said of Woods: “That ankle won’t get right.” Kiffin added that even going back to the Arizona game, when Woods broke a long touchdown along the sideline, there was a limp in his stride that wasn’t present last season.
Dion Bailey is still not completely cleared to return to action, but did pass the conditioning part of the concussion test, which allowed him to work out on the sideline and run around in some 7-on-7 work. He said an initial hit that began his headache occurred in the second quarter, on a play in which his chinstrap was broken. But he said it was the first play of the second overtime when he was knocked unconscious. Bailey said he has seen improvement each day and is hopeful that he will be able to play on Friday.
Kiffin was asked after practice how he will handle the Colorado game seeming like a lesser game after last week’s huge showdown with Stanford. Kiffin said that this is a “huge” game for the Trojans, and that no matter how good Saturday’s game was, they still wound up on the losing end. “We have to get back on the winning track,” Kiffin said.
Kiffin also touched on his biggest worries heading into Friday’s matchup. He listed the potential of playing several new players on the defensive side of the ball, the hostile environment of Folsom Field and the fact that this is abnormal game -- a Friday night, with possible snow and definite cold weather, as well as a location that none of the Trojans have experienced before.
The Trojans were in shirts and shorts on Wednesday, just 48 hours before Friday’s game. De’Von Flournoy made a terrific running one-handed catch down the sideline, and Marqise Lee came up with a nice catch while diving out of bounds.