The competition continues...
- Allen Bradford and Nickell Robey both missed practice for undisclosed reasons, but they should be fine for Saturday.
- Live tackling drills raised the energy level today. On the positive side, Shane Horton was the best tackler for the linebacking corps with Devon Kennard a strong second. In the secondary, corners Torin Harris and Brian Baucham earned Lane Kiffin's praise for wrapping up.
- As for the negative, safeties Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonald really struggled getting their footwork right, which caused them to whiff or lunge awkwardly. "I stop my feet sometimes breaking down," said Starling about what he needs to work on. "If you miss, miss full speed and don't be afraid to go low."
- With Malcolm Smith back, Chris Galippo is now working in at middle linebacker alongside Devon Kennard.
- Starling is being pushed this week by Marshall Jones for his starting spot. While tackling is an issue, coverage is the problem. "I kinda got into the run too much," Starling described his Oregon struggles. "I'm a safety, so I've got to stay back and play pass first."
- As has been the case with most of the in-season competitions, neither player really knows where he stands during the week. "I'll just be there when I'm called on," Starling said, but he's embracing the spirit of the position battle. "It's always got to get you going. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for competition."
- Coaches preach competition at the start of the recruiting process, so they don't end up with sulking athletes when their starting spot is challenged. "That's what the thing is about SC," Starling said. "I don't ever back down from competition, so it's only going to bring out the best from me."
- Starling has all the physical tools, so hopefully competition will help him free those gifts. "You've got to stay hungry and it helps feed that hunger."
- Michael Reardon is getting his shot at the starting left guard spot this week. "You always strive to be a 1, so if the opportunity comes, you can't look back," he said of his chance.
- Reardon's USC career has been marred by injury. "Been healthy, knock on wood," said Reardon, who was also working at back-up center when Abe Markowitz was out.
- Lane Kiffin called out the offensive line's effort earlier this week. "We were disappointed with how we played," Reardon admitted. "We have to start getting cut blocks and giving extra effort."
- As they say, the tape doesn't lie. "We could all see it and we were all disappointed by it, especially the guys that have been around," he said. "We see that effort and we know what we are capable of and that was subpar."
- Freshman QB Jesse Scroggins announced on Facebook that he is growing out dreadlocks. He expects it will take "about two years," which is right around the time that he might be competing for starting quarterback.
- Here is Lane Kiffin talking about Arizona State...