UW Tuesday Practice: Notes

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The heat cleared as the Trojans prepare for Washington.

  • Wes Horton is the big injury question.  He was limited in practice today, but considering the amount of pain he was in leaving the Martin Stadium turf last Saturday, he appears to be in good shape going forward.
  • CB T.J. Bryant was also limited.  He has moved up into the #3 corner spot, so we'll keep an eye on his availability for Saturday.  After the Hawaii start, every team will look for opportunities to spread the Trojans out if they have the personnel to do it, so healthy corners become crucial.
  • Joe Houston is 1/4 this season on field goals.  What is his confidence level right now?  "It's fine," Houston said today.  "It has to be there.  I don't have a choice.  I need to step it up.  Whatever kick comes next against Washington, I'm going to go out there and make it."
  • "I think he's frustrated as anybody would be," special teams coach John Baxter said.  "We as a coaching staff are not going to let him doubt himself."
  • "I'm not worried if he makes them from now on," Lane Kiffin said in his Q&A yesterday.  "I'm not as concerned as I normally would be if he was kicking the ball poorly.  He's close.  We've just got to stay with him."
  • Kicking seems to be an inexact science.  Houston is missing by such small margins, but neither he nor his coaches can pinpoint the cause.  "They miss them in the NFL," Baxter said.  "You're a freshman until you play.  He's going through all the first year blues of a first year player.  He's a good player and he's going to continue to be.  He doesn't need to reevaluate everything that he's doing because he sliced two uprights."
  • "There's no X-factor really; they've just been off," Houston said.  "Kicking is not inches, it's millimeters."
  • As I mentioned in my Wazzu observations, Baxter has made special teams "cool."  How did he do it?  "You get what you emphasize," Baxter explained.  "A special teams meeting here is not like anywhere else.  We've got a lot of music and creative energy and we jump up and down.  It's fun."
  • Add Allen Bradford to the list of players that are begging Baxter to get involved.  "People support what they help create," Baxter said of the popularity.  "Whenever it's fun, it's their idea.  And when it's their idea, it's the best idea."
  • While the Trojans have made special teams plays in the first four games, the sense is that Baxter and Co. are just getting started.  "That's for me to know and you to find out," he mused.
  • Speaking of amusing coaches, Lane Kiffin brought up Lou Holtz's name a couple of times tonight.  Listen in...

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