Stanford Thursday Practice: Notes

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The final full practice before a big Stanford game...

  • As you will hear below in Lane Kiffin's media session, the injury list is lengthy.  However, the coach sounds confident that most of the names on the list will be ready come Saturday.  DE Wes Horton (back) looks like the biggest concern. 
  • Coach Ed Orgeron was not listed on the injury report, but he missed practice with an infection in his surgically repaired foot.  His status for Saturday is uncertain. 
  • Allen Bradford has been named the starter at tailback for the Stanford game.  It's hard not to feel good for Bradford, who has spent most of his USC career swimming upstream on the depth chart.  Obviously, he earned the spot with his monster performance against Washington and a strong week of practice.
  • And your daily kicking update... Joe Houston went 5/6 and Jacob Harfman went 3/4.  The misses were from 33 and 27 yards, respectively.  They did not attempt a field goal from longer than 33 yards, which could be a tip off as to the kicking plan for Saturday.  "Hopefully, they'll let us not wear pads and kick the ball with the wind at our back," Kiffin quipped.  He felt better about today, but the quote leads one to believe that he was hardly bowled over.
  • On the first day of the competition, the team crowded around the kickers to distract them.  Yesterday, they were nothing but supportive.  Today, they were quiet.  But each day, the kicking competition has attracted the attention of all in attendance, which is not normal for a USC practice.
  • After last week, the Trojans seem to have an inner anger brewing that they are looking to unleash Saturday.  "We're hungry," DB T.J. McDonald said.  "We have a bad taste in our mouth from last game.  We'll do anything we can to change that."
  • Stanford beat the Trojans last year with power running, but Toby Gerhart is no longer a Cardinal.  So while the talk this week has been about physicality, it's possible Jim Harbaugh is cooking up an aerial gameplan after watching USC's first five games.  "They are a heck of a football team.  They have a great running game and a good quarterback," McDonald said.  "Whatever they throw at us, we'll be ready."
  • Gerhart was a unique beast, so the Stanford attack is obviously different without him.  "They are more traditional," Kiffin said of the Cardinal's runners.  "Toby was so different than what you see.  But it goes back to their offensive line and tight ends, they do such a good job and play so hard.  You can't let up at any time because they are so physical."
  • McDonald seconds that sentiment.  "They definitely don't have a Toby Gerhart.  No disrespect to any of their other backs, but he's one of a kind."
  • Andrew Luck has similar talents to Jake Locker, but Luck "scrambles to throw," according to McDonald.  However, Luck's mobility is a key reason why Stanford is one of the best 3rd down offenses in the nation ("#2 in the country," said Kiffin).
  • Robert Woods is coming off a zero catch game, but he made another big play on special teams.  He busted a long kickoff return, including hurdling a defender, to ignite the Trojans rally down 17-7.  "I have to make plays," Woods said of stepping up when his team needed him.  "Freshman or not a freshman, you're on the field, you've got to make plays for the team."
  • Woods is dealing with his first loss since his junior year at Serra High School.  "I haven't lost a lot," the freshman confessed.
  • Here's Lane Kiffin's post-practice presser featuring a seemingly endless injury report:

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