Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor
Friday's three-hour practice was highlighted by the much-needed return of WR Robert Woods...
- One day after his coach reiterated the need to have him back on the field, Woods (ankle) returned after a week-long absence. More noteworthy than his mere presence on the field, was how he responded to the full-padded practice.
- Outside of an early drop during special teams drills, Woods (pictured right by John McGillen) looked comfortable from start to finish, especially over the middle. His day was capped off by a beautiful connection with QB Matt Barkley, in which the sophomore wideout was able to shield himself away from CB Nickell Robey for a 15-yard completion on a well-timed out route.
- Woods on his first day back: "I felt a little out of shape in the two-minute drill, but I feel pretty good going full speed. Some routes I am still favoring the ankle, other than that I am out here full speed. When I am out on the field there is no thought of it [the ankle], then again you feel it at times, but you have to let it go. It's football."
- For the second straight practice, Chris Galippo (shoulder) took to the field with the yellow no-contact jersey and participated sparingly.
- While the WR corps welcomed back Woods, redshirt freshman Kyle Prater did not participate in contact drills. D.J. Morgan (knee) sat out once again, as did WR De'Von Flournoy.
- Play of the day: On a 4th and goal situation at the two-yard line, the Trojans' first-team offense ran an end-around to WR Marqise Lee. However, S T.J. McDonald read the play perfectly, and landed a vicious hit on the freshman to secure the goal line stand.
- Lack of discipline: Although the defense did a remarkable job maintaining the running game for the better part of Friday's practice, yellow flags flew often during 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. S Jawanza Starling was unfortunately the main culprit, getting flagged for two separate pass interference penalties in the end zone.
- Kiffin on the defensive penalties: "These are long, hard practices and long, hard drives, and you have to stay focused. Maybe those are penalties we aren't making when we alternate every four or five plays, but when they are put in those settings where it's eight, nine, 10 plays in a row, that's what the game is like. We are going to have to master those situations."
- Matt Barkley was a master of the deep ball on Friday. During individual drills, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11, the junior QB hooked up down the field with several targets, WRs Brandon Carswell, Lee and Woods, as well as TE Randall Telfer and FB Rhett Ellison.
- Turning back the clock: LB coach Joe Barry (who played for USC from 1992-1993) showed off some of his old skills, picking off a pass by QB Max Wittek during 7-on-7. Comedy then ensued, when the 41-year-old tried to make his way down the sideline as players attempted to strip the ball.
- Abe Markowitz saw time at LG with the No.1 offense on Friday. Although Markowitz typically takes reps at C, Kiffin lauded the redshirt junior's ability to transition back-and-forth during fall camp. "He's doing well playing both spots, that's a hard thing to do. He's doing very well, and hopefully will this weekend. He has impressed us."
- Tomorrow's practice has been moved from the original 3 p.m. start time to an early morning setting at 8:50 a.m. Here's the coach...