The Trojans were visited at practice by a special guest, Jake Olson.
- Click here for some action shots from tonight's practice.
- Allen Bradford did not participate. Lane Kiffin would not elaborate, but the powerful running back did not appear to have any physical issues watching from the sideline.
- Marc Tyler fumbled during a competitive portion, which earned him a lap and Kiffin's ire.
- Combining the two, Dillon Baxter has a chance to have his biggest week in a Trojan uniform. The freshman seemed to be sliding down the depth chart judging by how he was used against Washington State, but neither Bradford nor Tyler have grabbed a hold of the position.
- C.J. Gable is still sitting idly by. He had a couple of explosive runs in practice.
- LB Devon Kennard was the story of Spring practice on defense. However, through four games, he has been under the radar. LB coach Joe Barry is happy with his progress, "I'm totally pleased with where he is at. I think he has made the transition seamlessly."
- Kennard's improvement will be tested this week by Jake Locker's feet and experience. "He stresses all 11 guys on the defense," said Joe Barry. "The guy is 6'4" 220 pounds, runs like a running back, but then he can throw the ball like John Elway. He can kill you with his arm and he can kill you with his feet."
- As the quarterback of the defense, Kennard will be locked in on UW's signal-caller, but the Trojans won't employ a spy to keep him from running. "We have never really got into that," Barry said of the tactic. "When you a play against a player like him, you get so concerned with just him that you lose track of everybody else."
- If Steve Sarkisian installs a spread-option look a la Oregon, Kennard could be tasked with hauling down Locker in space. ""We always have someone keying on Locker if they do that," Kennard said. "We just have to come up and rally and make plays on him."
- Selfishly, Kennard would like the opportunity to bruise the NFL prospect, but he understands the greater gameplan. "I'd like him running. We'd like to get some hits on him. If we can make him one-dimensional, that's always good."
- Of course, it's not that simple. Locker is built like a safety and might be faster than USC's linebackers. Kennard sounded up to the challenge, "I don't know. I heard he's pretty fast, so we'll see on Saturday."
- After the Hawaii game, most teams will look to spread the Trojans out if they have the personnel to do so. On the positive side, the linebacking corps' lack of depth is not exposed when they play nickel coverage most of the game because they only play two backers at a time. On the negative, opponents have found success through the air against the Trojans. "Washington is going to come in here and they are going to come after us and we wouldn't expect anything different," Barry said.
- Barry sums up best the threat that Washington's offense and Jake Locker present, "We equally have to pay attention to everybody, but especially Jake. He has forced many long hours the last couple of days for the defensive staff."
- As for Kennard, he is ready to find out where he stands as a middle linebacker. "Looking at the schedule, this is the first big game that the coaching staff has talked about," said Kennard. "I'm really excited personally to go out against a good team and show what we are about, show what the linebacking corps is about and show what I'm about."
- Tonight's presser got off to a slow start...