Four could be back

LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Lane Kiffin has expressed hope this week that four players who have missed the Trojans' recent games because of injuries could be back by next week's game against Utah.

The foursome -- running back D.J. Morgan, receiver George Farmer, tight end Christian Thomas and defensive end J.R. Tavai -- have all missed at least the last two games.

"We're trying to develop all those guys so they can get snaps here and there," Kiffin said.

Morgan carried seven times in Week 1 before undergoing minor knee surgery. Farmer and Tavai played in the first two games before staying home from Stanford for unspecified reasons and staying on the sideline against Cal. (Kiffin said Farmer was not medically cleared as of Sunday.) Thomas still hasn't suited up for a game since September 2011.

Tavai, a sophomore was a starter in games one and two. The other three guys could all presumably help immediately on special teams if cleared for competition.

That's one of USC's goals, then, for the bye this week: getting some crucial special-teamers back.