Cal Friday: Notes

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

Despite the rare setting of a Friday practice, the tempo and the physicality of the morning session was typical of a mid-week practice....

  • No new injuries to report, although CB Torin Harris and WR Kyle Prater remained on the sidelines for all of practice. Lane Kiffin said he hopes Harris can practice on Sunday, putting him in a good position to play against Cal on Thursday.
  • RB Amir Carlisle and LB Lamar Dawson looked to benefit the most from the bye week, as they were back on the field today. Both participated in most of the early drills, while Carlisle also spent time working in the return game after practice.
  • Freshman George Farmer seems to have completely made the shift from WR to RB. For the first time on Friday, he was seen dawning No.8 instead of his typical wideout number of 88. The last two Trojans to wear the No. 8 were Ronald Johnson and Dwayne Jarrett.
  • Outside of the number change, Farmer's play on the field on Friday got most of the attention. His dynamic speed out of the backfield has some wondering whether he could potentially be an option after starting RB Marc Tyler in the coming weeks. "We have to look at it this week and see where we are at," Kiffin said. 'Now that he is fully healthy, he's been doing some really good things out here. So we will spend the week trying to figure that out."  
  • KH.JPGWhile the routine has shifted a bit this week given next Thursday's road game at AT&T Park, several players insisted that they thought Friday's practice felt like a typical Tuesday. "If someone hadn't told me it was Friday, I would have thought it was Tuesday to be honest," center Khaled Holmes (pictured right by John McGillen) said. "When you're out here preparing for your next opponent, you tend not to notice those things."
  • DT Christian Tupou also said that when he hears the words "Competition Tuesday" he's programmed to think one way. "Once I hear those words, my mind is already competing," said Tupou. "It's just muscle memory for me, as soon as I hear that, it doesn't matter what time it is or what day of the week it is, I'm ready to go."
  • Today's team drills revealed that there might actually be someone out there who can defend the WR tandem of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. The good news for USC, is that CB Nickell Robey wears Cardinal and Gold. Countless times when matched up against the 1-2 punch, Robey rose to the challenge, making it nearly impossible for the duo to get open.
  • California's defense got lit up by Oregon last night in the second half of their 43-15 road defeat, but Kiffin said he came away impressed by what he saw. "I thought they played great through one half and into the third quarter, especially in a tough environment against an explosive offense. What happened, happens in most games against Oregon over the last few years."
  • Kiffin wasn't the only one impressed by what he's seen from the Golden Bears. "I like what I see out of their guard play, because they come off the ball really quickly," said Tupou. "They are coached well, play with good technique, it's definitely going to be a battle."
  • 1-on-1 drills took on a very physical tone on Friday, as FB/TE Rhett Ellison matched up against S T.J. McDonald and TE Xavier Grimble against S Demetrius Wright. While McDonald got the better of Ellison in the battle of proven vets, Grimble recorded the catch of the day, soaring for a one-handed grab over the head of Wright. 
  • The team will take the day off on Saturday, which Kiffin said will allow several members of his coaching staff to go on recruiting visits to junior colleges. Preparation for Cal will resume on Sunday at 1:45 p.m.
  • Here's the coach....

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