Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor
The energy from Saturday's win over Utah seems to have carried over even into Wednesday's practice as the Trojans gear up to face the 2-0 Orange this weekend.
- LB Marquis Simmons (neck) and OG Martin Coleman (shoulder) were unable to practice once again, and in their place true freshmen Tre Madden (pictured below by John McGillen) and Marcus Martin answered the bell for the second straight day.
- Although Martin took most of the snaps at left guard again on Wednesday, RS junior Abe Markowitz also saw reps at the position. With Markowitz easing his way back into the rotation due to injury, Lane Kiffin said "for now we will just continue to throw guys in there."
- According to Kiffin, RS freshman cornerback Anthony Brown and RS junior safety Drew McAllister will see time in the secondary this Saturday. Through two games, S T.J. McDonald and CB Nickell Robey have played every possible snap.
- Brown on adjusting to the college game: "I have always been confident, but we have a lot of really good cornerbacks here. So it's about staying patient. But my body is built like a nickel-type back, because I am physical and quick. In high school, I was the best one on the field at all times so I didn't have to do much, but at the college level everyone is fast."
- McAllister responded to his coach's vote of confidence on Wednesday by leaping up for an interception over the outstretched arms of 6'5" wideout Kyle Prater.
- The special teams unit was in a rather jovial mood on the practice field. Freshman kicker Andre Heidari (who went 6-for-6 on field goal attempts on Wednesday) and RS junior punter Kyle Negrete went back-and-forth to see who could pin more punts inside the 10-yard line. Surprisingly, Heidari kept right with the Trojans' starting punter.
- Junior quarterback Matt Barkley addressed the up-and-down play of the offense thus far in second halves, saying that he needed to get everyone on board when it comes to executing in all phases. He also joking suggested that he'd be happy if Kiffin "changed more run plays to pass plays."
- Barkley on Syracuse's defense: "Their linebackers are very similar to ours. They aren't very big but they fly to the ball. Their front seven is an experienced group and they keep things simple. They do a really good job of getting after the ball."
- After his 113-yard performance on Saturday, it comes as no surprise that RS senior running back Marc Tyler took the bulk of the carries on Wednesday. His biggest play in practice, however, came on a 40-yard screen play in which he made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch despite blanket coverage from LB Dion Bailey.
- On the subject of beautiful catches, sophomore WR Robert Woods once again dazzled, snagging a ball out of mid-air despite triple coverage from Madden, Bailey and Brown.
- Kiffin on his play-calling approach in the second half vs. Utah: "As a head coach, your first priority is to win the football game. So, we got more conservative. But just because your conservative doesn't mean you can't make first downs. It just means you try not to turn the ball over and give the game away."
- Here's the coach after Wednesday's slightly shortened practice...