LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans were back out on Brian Kennedy/Howard Jones Field on Tuesday, and the theme of the day focused on moving on from the Stanford loss and getting ready for this weekend’s matchup with Cal.
“As of yesterday, we’re already all the way on to Cal,” quarterback Matt Barkley said. “A new week, a new day, a new opponent … we’re as pumped as we can be for this weekend.”
USC head coach Lane Kiffin shared the sentiments of his senior signal-caller and thought the team put on a strong showing today.
“Good to be back out on the field I think for everybody … for our coaches, for our players – get rid of last week,” said Kiffin. “We’re moving forward, but it’s always good to get the pads on, get back out here and get to football.
“I thought there were some good things today. Guys came out – it started with a 6 a.m. meeting today – ready to work and ready to get back on track.”
It was a physical practice, starting with some live tackling one-on-one drills featuring the cornerbacks against scout team wideouts, and the linebackers facing off with scout team running backs.
Lamar Dawson made his presence felt in the linebacker one-on-ones, making two of the biggest hits of the entire day. Having racked up a team-high 10 tackles against Stanford, he certainly looks primed and ready to go against the Golden Bears.
The physical play extended into an early 11-on-11 session. Silas Redd started off the period with a fantastic run when he broke past the line and was off to the races for a touchdown. The defense hunkered down after that, though, and Wes Horton and George Uko both caught everyone’s attention with big-time tackles for loss on running backs on back-to-back plays.
The receivers and cornerbacks came together at that point for some one-on-ones that again featured some eye-catching plays:
The next set of highlight plays came out of the 7-on-7 period:
• Robey stepped in front of Lee to pick off a Barkley pass.
• Agholor reeled in a Barkley pass, despite tight coverage by Brown.
• Barkley found De’Von Flournoy over the middle.
• Blackwell made a beautiful catch on a Wittek toss, just getting his foot down inbounds.
• Kessler hit Woods over the middle.
To cap the day off, the team got together for one last 11-on-11 session. Here are some highlights:
• Barkley tried to go deep to Lee, but Robey was there with great coverage and the pass fell incomplete.
• Barkley hit Pinner for a nice gain before he was pushed out of bounds by Robey.
• Barkley had to throw the ball away because of pressure from Morgan Breslin.
• Wittek found Flournoy along the sideline.
• Greg Townsend Jr. tackled Curtis McNeal for a loss in the backfield.
• Barkley completed a pass to Woods.
• Lee hauled in a Barkley pass along the sideline for a big gain.
• Barkley threw another one away after Uko got in to apply pressure.
• Wittek hit Blackwell over the middle before a Drew McAllister tackle.
• Townsend Jr. sacked Wittek.
• Redd with a nice gain on a run play before the stop by Ryan Henderson.
Selected post-practice Kiffin quotes:
On facing California:
“I think they’re a very talented team in general, in all three phases. A lot of high-profile recruits over the last three or four years, and some guys on defense that give you some issues up front.”
On helping Barkley make good decisions:
“Well, we do that all the time, and he’s one of the best in the world at it. And you have games like this. Peyton (Manning) had one last night to start the game, so these things happen to the best of them -- just like what I said on Sunday. So, he’ll play great this week.”
“Too hard to make that judgment without going back to the film, but we’re looking for finish and great effort. You know, guys are going to get beat and guys are going to drop balls. You’re going to make mistakes, but we won’t tolerate lack of great effort -- not when you put on these jerseys that all of these great players have worn before. I think Aundrey (Walker) is going to respond well to this.”