The injury list is going in the wrong direction...
- Dillon Baxter, C.J. Gable and Malcolm Smith are still on the sideline. Marc Tyler and Nick Perry hobbled off the field during practice. You can hear the full injury report at the top of Lane Kiffin's presser below.
- "I had a bruise from last game and I fell on it again," Tyler said.
- "Everyday I'm feeling better and I expect to be feeling good by Saturday," Smith said. "I doubt I'll feel 100%."
- The Trojans need all hands on deck, especially in the linebacking corps, which will bear much of the responsibility for plugging the correct gaps in Monte Kiffin's assignment defense. "We just have to be in our gaps," senior LB Michael Morgan said. "They do not run a lot of plays, but the plays that they do run, they are very successful with them."
- So, while Oregon's mesh point exchanges may seem like a magic act, the Ducks offense is relatively simple, but extremely fast. It's basically the option. Last year, Pete Carroll regretted overcomplicating his scheme, which slowed his players down. "I feel really comfortable with the scheme that we've got going on," said Morgan about this year's plan. "It's really simple, so we can play fast."
- Oregon's offense can also affect an opponent's offense by taking away their natural aggression to score. "I feel like teams that go against Oregon and try to change everything and they get scared and they try new stuff," answered Tyler about trying to work the clock. "We just need to go out there and play like we've been playing."
- Lane Kiffin set a fast tempo last week in practice and the players have bought in. Michael Morgan and Shane Horton did extra sprints after practice on their own.
- USC's defense is preparing to play on the fly. "Basically, we're going to be doing a lot of no-huddle because they're going to be doing a lot of no-huddle," Morgan explained. "Everybody has to be looking to the sidelines to get the play from the coach."
- Morgan and Smith know what it feels like to be on the wrong end of the Oregon snowball effect. "I remember us being very undisciplined in the second half," Smith said looking back. "We were not able to keep our composure when they turned the speed up a little bit."
- If the momentum is against them, Smith wants to see his teammates battle back this time. "Their goal is to get you off-guard, get you on your heels and then bust big plays," said Smith. "Our goal is to be competitive on every play."
- Kiffin mentioned that Chip Kelly's system is so good that they can plug and play at every position. So, is LaMichael James a system running back? "It's a little bit of both," said Morgan, who will be tasked with tackling the nation's leading running back. "He is a great back. He does not let the first guy tackle him." Morgan did mention that James is from Texas, "my home state," which is where they breed real football players, according to the Dallas native.
- One big difference from last year, the Trojans will have a Homecoming Cardinal Red Out behind them. "Most definitely, we're going to have the crowd on our side this week," Morgan smiled. "It's going to be exciting. After they beat us down last year, we are ready to come back with a little execution."
- Here is Lane Kiffin with some interesting bites about how difficult life is at #1 when every opponent is aiming to knock you off...