Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor
With just three days remaining until their revenge match against Washington at the Coliseum, the Trojans received plenty of good news during their pad-less morning session...
- With the exception of DT DaJohn Harris (ankle), every other member of this week's walking wounded returned to the practice field on Wednesday. S Jawanza Starling, LB Dion Bailey (concussion), LB Hayes Pullard (neck), WR Marqise Lee (shoulder), WR Robert Woods (ankle) went through every drill. RB Marc Tyler (shoulder) and RB George Farmer (ankle) also practiced without the yellow no-contact jersey, but both were held out of team drills.
- Since having his redshirt removed before the Trojans' game against Cal on October 13, Farmer has played sparingly (five carries for 15 yards and two receptions for 23 yards), making appearances in just two games at RB. "Obviously I am still more comfortable playing the WR position," said Farmer. "But, my plan is to play this season out and then re-evaluate my situation with the coaching staff going into spring ball."
- Lane Kiffin on if he regrets removing Farmer's redshirt: "Not at all. A month ago, we saw once he got comfortable and once he got healthy, what he could be. And really as we looked at it, five years from now he probably wouldn't be here anyways. To redshirt him, thinking he would have four years of eligibility after this year probably wouldn't have happened. So, no I don't regret it."
- CB Torin Harris made a surprise, but limited, appearance on the practice field on Wednesday. Harris has not played since injuring his shoulder in the first half of USC's loss to ASU on September 24. "There is a potential chance that Torin [Harris] could play," said Kiffin. "He went out there and did some things today, so we will continue to test him each day. It would be a big pick-me-up for us with our lack of depth at cornerback."
- While USC may lack depth at the CB position, Nickell Robey (pictured above by John McGillen) has continued to impress week after week this season (45 tackles, 2 INTs and a TD). This week, Robey has been seen with a noticeable pep in his step, including today's gorgeous one-handed interception over the middle of the field. This weekend would have marked his late-mother Maxine's 46th birthday, so plenty of Robey's friends and family members will be making the trek to the Coliseum on Saturday.
- Kiffin on Robey: "From the first day I met him when he came on to campus at Tennessee a few years back for a camp, he was the first in every line, the first in every drill and always just stayed after for extra work. That's who he is. That's what makes him special. Outside of his ability, he is so dedicated to being great."
- Compton native Keith Price, the Huskies' first-year starting QB, has filled in admirably as Jake Locker's successor for Washington this season. Through nine games, he has thrown for 2,133 yards and 25 TDs. "I feel like he is different from the other top quarterbacks we've faced this season," said Robey. "He has a different style in the way he runs their offense. He surprises me by the way he stays in the pocket and the way he tries to buy time for his receivers to get open. He's a good young quarterback."
- While Price has been a pleasant surprise for the Huskies, Steve Sarkisian's offense still goes through senior RB Chris Polk (1,096 rushing yards and 9 TDs). Polk is no stranger to the Coliseum, as he compiled 142 all-purpose yards and a TD in Washington's 32-31 win over USC last year. "He's hard to bring down and forces a lot of missed tackles," said Kiffin of Polk. "He's big and physical and really good in the passing game too. He's the complete package."
- The dominate storyline around college football on Wednesday revolved around Penn State's long-time coach, Joe Paterno, who announced that he will be stepping down following the end of this season after 46 years at the helm of the Nittany Lions' program. While Kiffin admitted he did not know the venerable Paterno personally, he did have this to say regarding the ongoing scandal in State College: "It sounds like a horrible situation for everyone involved. He has obviously had an unbelievable record for that many years and did a lot of neat things, but I think that's really irrelevant today."
- Here's more from the coach following Wednesday's up-tempo practice...