The Trojans beat the sun to work today with a 6 a.m. practice.
- Lane Kiffin has called 6 a.m. practice for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this bye week, so his assistant coaches can hit the recruiting trail hard.
- As is, Joe Barry, James Cregg and Willie Mack Garza were not at practice because they are traveling to see recruits. Bye weeks are an opportunity for young coaches like Keary Colbert and Sammy Knight to impress as well.
- Everything the Trojans did today was up-tempo to simulate the speed at which Oregon plays and practices. The drills were all fast-paced and practice ended with an extended sprint session, which gave Coach O a chance to exercise his vocal cords.
- C.J. Gable must have nine lives. Written off for the season Saturday, the fifth-year running back hopes to return for the Oregon game. "Just a bruised knee, I'll be back next week," a relieved Gable said. "I thought it was worse, but luckily it's not."
- As an old man now, Gable enjoys the early morning practices. "It's better! We get done and I can go home," said Gable, who spent the end of practice doing sit-ups. "I'm used to it now. I've been going to workouts early, so it's the same thing."
- On a personal note, I'm consistently amazed and impressed by these kids pushing themselves out of bed to bust it in the gym or on the practice field at the crack of dawn. I went to college. Trust me, college students are more likely to be coming home at 6 a.m. than waking up.
- Gable was on the trainer's table when David Ausberry took his spot in the 4th quarter, but he's had a good laugh now going back and watching the tape. "I came in yesterday and I watched the film and I was like 'Look at this big old guy looking like Brandon Jacobs! Dang, where'd he get those skills from?!'"
- Bye weeks are traditionally a chance for young players to move up the depth chart. "It's a good opportunity because usually they don't have enough time to show what they got because all the starting players are preparing for the game," said Gable, who has spent a few bye weeks trying to open up some eyes. "This is a time where they can show what they are capable of doing, so they got to go hard, so they can see them out there today."
- However, the Trojans don't have many young players, who are not either redshirting or contributing already. WR Markeith Ambles probably stands to benefit the most. "I'm just going to come out, work hard and try to do everything perfect. Let the coaches decide from there," Ambles said of his bye week plans.
- The highly-recruited freshman got the most significant playing time of his young career last Saturday. "I'm definitely happy about getting a little PT because everything counts around here," said Ambles about the Cal game. "I was very excited about the couple of plays that I got in."
- Ambles adjustment to the college game has been a struggle at times, but he is beginning to figure it out. "I guess I'm just starting to do everything right and the coaches are starting to see that now."
- As for the 6 a.m. sprinting, Ambles is just happy to have survived. "I didn't like it, but I'm not dead, so I'm good!" he said with a smile.
- One final shout out to my fellow media members. Eleven scribes turned out bright and early to cover practice. Daily Trojan writer Duke Ho took first place, shortly followed by Gary Klein of the LA Times. And, OC Register writer Marcia Smith left San Diego County at 3:30 a.m., so she deserves a special prize. Needless to say, the coffee is flowing at Heritage Hall...
- Here's Lane Kiffin on the practice...