Bye Wednesday Practice: Notes

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Up bright and early again, the Trojans switched to Cromwell Field due to the wet weather.

  • NOTE: We are LIVE CHATTING with T.J. McDonald at 11 a.m. today, so be there or post your questions in the comments section.
  • At the end of Lane Kiffin's media session, he listed the injury report, which was so long that he might have saved time by listing the healthy players.  However, he made it clear that the primary purpose of this week is to get everyone back to 100%, so they are being extremely cautious with banged up players.
  • Thanks to all the injured runners, freshman D.J. Morgan found his way to the top of the depth chart.  Morgan is making great progress rehabbing from knee surgery and he is starting to regain the spark that made him such a prized recruit.  "He has shown some explosions and some quickness," said Kiffin about Morgan.  "Here's Dillon Baxter that we think has all the potential in the world, but here's another running back in the same class."
  • I saw a lot of Morgan last year at Taft High School.  While Baxter has more natural shake, Morgan is a true breakaway back.  If you're in a foot race with him, you're coming in second.
  • A blog commenter recently asked about why we do not talk about young players in practice reports.  Honestly, there is not a whole lot to say.  Without tackling, young defensive players like George Uko, Demetrius Wright, Hayes Pullard and Dion Bailey are not given the chance to make eye-popping plays.  Kyle Prater, Xavier Grimble and Morgan have been mostly injured.  As I have mentioned before, TE Randall Telfer has distinguished himself with his work ethic after practice, but the reps line is long at tight end. 
  • "I would love to have that problem...having a lot of really good young players to look at right now," Kiffin said.  Without that, the Trojans have instead focused on Oregon a week earlier than usual.  They continued the Mach 10 practice speed today complete with an extended sprinting session to close out the morning.
  • Matt Barkley is second in the nation in TD passes, so his name has been mentioned in Heisman talk this week.  "You can be good two weeks and then plummet the next week," Barkley said.  "I do my best when I just focus on myself rather than living up to certain expectations."
  • Dillon Baxter has never been hurt before.  He is still hobbling around the practice field, but everyone seems optimistic that he will be a part of next week's gameplan.
  • While the Trojans were nearly perfect against Cal, Allen Bradford struggled, including two fumbles.  "I did not feel like myself when I was running," said the senior, who is playing through an injured toe.  "I really was not into the game, but it's still not an excuse for fumbling the rock."
  • Bradford was a superstar strong safety at Colton High School, so he is a little envious of Robert Woods potentially playing two positions.  "I would.  I'm open to it," Bradford said.  "I'll play linebacker a little bit.  Safety...whatever."
  • He has talked his way onto the punt block team ("The Sharks").  "I'm trying to block a kick, scoop and score, so I can get more touchdowns," AB joked.
  • Helmet-to-helmet hits (or as college football calls them "targeting") have been the story of the week in the NFL.  Bradford has seen all the controversial hits from the weekend.  "You really cannot stop your momentum when you are in the air.  If you see a guy leading with his head, if he is spearing, he should be fined, but if it's in the act then I don't think they should."
  • Lane Kiffin talks about "targeting" with his defensive backs, but he said it is a challenge to police instinct.  "There are some plays that it is hard to coach out of cause it happens so quick."
  • Here's the wet and weary coach after practice...

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