A quick turnaround for the Trojans with two contact practices in less than 24 hours...
- The scheduling of two practices this close together had more to do with finals than anything else, but Lane Kiffin also likes the message it sends. "One of the things about bowl games is trying to get players to buy into that it's not a soft, long time atmosphere," he said. "Our plan has been to have a couple really hard ones right now as if we were playing a game."
- Darreus Rogers was a welcome new face on the practice field. Originally a member of the 2012 fall recruiting class, the lanky wide receiver was not cleared by the NCAA initially, so he will officially start classes in the spring. He is eligible to practice with the team until the Trojans depart for El Paso. "You can see that he's very talented," said Kiffin.
- All USC student final grades will be posted by December 28, so any questions about academic eligibility will be answered before the bowl.
- While many draft experts have predicted Matt Barkley's senior year will hurt his draft stock, Kiffin sees the added adversity as another reason to take the quarterback. "All the stuff he's been through make him a more valuable pick. I can't imagine a [college football player] has dealt with more adversity in a four year span with things that were out of his control," the head coach said.
- Khaled Holmes will obviously start at center for the Sun Bowl, but Marcus Martin (pictured) has moved over from guard to try his hand on the ball. The experiment might become permanent. "Anybody that we've moved somewhere is because that's the direction that we think they're going," said Kiffin.
- For Martin's part, he likes the change and the opportunity that comes with it. "It's pretty fun and interesting. You get to learn a lot of new things and new concepts," said Martin, who likes the mental side of the position. "If you know what you're doing, there's not too much thinking. But if you don't, it gets kinda difficult."
- The hardest part of the transition from guard to center has been shotgun snaps. Martin has run his fair share of laps for wayward tosses. "You don't really have an awareness of where the ball is going. It's like throwing it to air," Martin said.
- Here is Lane Kiffin after practice...