Wazzu Wednesday Practice: Notes

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The Trojans were turnover hunting on an energetic night at Howard Jones/Brian Kennedy Fields.

  • Click here to take a look at some photos from tonight's practice snapped by Rich Rodriguez.
  • LB Michael Morgan, RB Marc Tyler and TE Blake Ayles were added to the injury list as "limited," but neither appeared to be seriously hampered.  Freshman RB D.J. Morgan was cleared to practice fully and worked with the service team.  He will likely redshirt as he continues to recover from knee surgery, but he's good enough to go full speed in practice now.
  • Milkshakes were on the line today!  If the offense went the entire practice without a turnover, DB coach Willie Mack Garza owed the offense milkshakes.  If the defense got one, QB coach Clay Helton was on the hook.
  • On the last play of the scrimmage portion of practice, T.J. Bryant corralled a twice deflected pass for an interception, which sent the defense exploding onto the field and Willie Mack rolling on the turf in celebration (see photo gallery).
  • On the list, DE Nick Perry is going with a chocolate shake, while CB Nickell Robey is feeling like strawberry tonight.
  • Quote of the night: "I've always thought coaching here one of your hardest things to do is to get your team motivated when it's not the national game of the week," Kiffin said about his challenge this week.  "These guys have been so programmed to be in so many of those games that these are the games that you worry most about."
  • The defensive line dominated against the run versus Minnesota, but they would like to see more from their pass rush.  "We emphasized it a little bit more this week that we need more sacks," Perry said after practice.  "We're definitely going to come out this week and get that done."
  • Perry is the team's returning sack-master, but he is still waiting to get off the mark after a high-ankle sprain virtually erased Fall camp.  "Just a lot of motivation to get me going this week," Perry said about going after that first sack of the season.  "Just heal my ankle, just getting 100%, I'm going to make the best effort out there when the time comes."
  • DE Wes Horton is tied for the team lead with two sacks.  As a unit he feels they are close, "We have the talent to get there," Horton said.  "We have the right coach to teach us the right things, so it's just a matter of getting there right now."
  • Horton has been as consistent as anyone defensively, which is a huge improvement over last year when he only showed flashes.  "I feel like my pass rush has gotten a lot better from last year to this year.  It's been working, but there's still so much more I need to improve on."
  • As a diminutive true freshman playing opposite Shareece Wright, Nickell Robey has been picked on at times this season.  He has his sights set on getting back at the opposing quarterbacks with his first career interception.  "I know I am ready for it," Robey said of his first pick.  "When I get it, it's going to be the best feeling ever and it's going to make it that much easier as the season goes on."
  • Random fun fact: USC sports information director Tim Tessalone coached kicker Joe Houston on his little league baseball team in Torrance.  Houston was a scrappy little second baseman, who drove the ball to the opposite field.
  • Here is Lane Kiffin's post-practice media session...

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I realize that Coach Kiffin is not Coach Carroll. He has his own personality and manner of doing things. But I recall one year Urban Meyer doing the pre-game, half time show and end of game show for ond of the BCS title games. He never smiled during any of the show. I thought, I wonder if he is like this around his team. Yes, they do win, but I would want to be around someone with a happier outlook.

I would like to see Coach Kiffin, just smile a little more. The best thing any employee can hear from a boss is that they are doing well and that it is said with a smile. That alone is enough motivation to work harder.

There are many motivational techniques, but it doesn't hurt to smile once in awhile. While this is a job, it should be fun for both the coaches and the players.

P.S. Tell Coach Kiffin to smile a little more, because he does have a nice smile.

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