The Trojans are trying to put the Notre Dame loss behind them...
- On the injury front, T.J. McDonald looks unlikely to play. The safety's shoulder is still in a sling. However, Jawanza Starling returned to practice, so he'll be in the safety mix with Tony Burnett and Marshall Jones.
- The corner position is depleted. Torin Harris and Brian Baucham are both out for now, so Daniel Harper is in position to swipe the nickel spot behind starters Shareece Wright and Nickell Robey.
- Tyron Smith missed Saturday's game and practice tonight. The massive junior was asked about his NFL future and he is leaning towards returning for his senior season.
- The highlight of practice was walk-on QB John Manoogian throwing two perfect balls to the delight of his offensive teammates. The defense took their retribution when they sent him flying on a QB scramble later in the drive. I guess they didn't see the yellow jersey.
- The LA Times reported today that Lane Kiffin told T.J. Simers that Matt Barkley was going to play against UCLA. If he made the statement, the head coach seemed to back off the certainty of it in the post-practice presser (below). Barkley did not seem to mind. "If he says so, yeah," Barkley answered about Kiffin's reported proclamation. "I plan on playing. There's a big possibility that I could be good to go."
- Barkley enjoyed the news report about the USC prank on their crosstown rivals. "I like how we dyed their fountains red this week. That was pretty good."
- Whether it is Barkley or Mitch Mustain behind center, Ronald Johnson will be lining up out wide. The senior receiver was inconsolable after his costly drop against Notre Dame, but he's trying to move past it. "It was pretty tough, but I'm over it now," RoJo said. "This is just going to help me build as a man, as a football player. I just can't wait for the future to come."
- Lane Kiffin knows how personally Johnson takes football and his teammates. "He's never going to truly recover from that," said Kiffin about how much RoJo cares. "That's always going to be a scar and a weight on his shoulders."
- The good news is that Johnson will get one more chance in cardinal and gold to make amends. "I get a chance to redeem myself," said a motivated Johnson, who has been supported wholeheartedly by his teammates. "They've told me that I've made a lot of good plays here and that doesn't define my career. I'm going to roll with that. These guys are my family."
- Looking to the future, I spoke with Kyle Prater, who hopes to inherit RoJo's starting spot next year. He is finally healthy and starting to show off his immense skill set. "I'm feeling good," said Prater. "I'm focusing on getting my body right and looking forward to next season."
- Prater will hopefully be a red zone threat in the mold of recent past Trojan greats Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarrett. "I feel I can fill that void and everything else as well," said Prater, who expects the redshirt year to be a mental advantage going into next season. "I bring the total package and I'm going to do everything to help my team get better."
- Usually, the old guys council the young pups, but Prater was there to console Ronald Johnson just like the rest of his teammates. "I told him to keep his head and that we all are not perfect. Look at it as a learning tool and everything is going to be alright."
- Here is Lane Kiffin on the third to last practice of the season...