Cal Thursday: Notes

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

While most of the Pac-12 focused their attention today on the highly-touted Thursday matchup between the third-ranked Oregon Ducks and fifth-ranked Stanford Cardinal, the USC Trojans had only one thing on their mind: Saturday's trip to California Memorial Stadium to take on the Bears. 
  • The emphasis of today's "no repeat" Thursday practice was specifically on short run yardage, red zone, and goal line plays. When asked which running back's number will be called in those situations, head coach Ed Orgeron relinquished that decision to running backs coach Tommy Robinson. He said, "That's up to Tommy. It's a toss up. I think whatever Tommy feels as to who runs that play the best will get the call, but I totally trust him."
  • Sophomore defensive end Leonard Williams is still questionable for Saturday's noon game against Cal as Coach O said it will be a game-time decision. "He's very questionable. It's a matter of if he gets his strength back. We don't know if he will play yet or not," said the head coach.
  • In other injury news, tailback D.J. Morgan had surgery today at the Keck Medical Center on his knee which means that he will be out for the remainder of the season. 
  • Though Marqise Lee had 105 yards on five receptions against Oregon State including a 70-yard touchdown on the Trojans first offensive series, don't ignore the impact that Nelson Agholor has had for the Trojans offense in Lee's absence. Agholor had 73 receiving yards on just two receptions against the Beavers adding on to his 97 yards against Utah, 89 against Notre Dame and a whopping 161 against Arizona. Coach said to look out for the wide receiver on Saturday. He said, "I really think that Nelson Agholor has had a tremendous last four games for us and I really really like the way he's playing."
  •  Coach O also addressed the impact of true freshmen Su'a Cravens and Leon McQuay saying, "I would've gone to war for both of them to play this year. We wanted that definitely. We didn't know if they were going to start or be the key guys in there but obviously we want all our top players to play as freshmen so it worked out pretty good for them."
  • The offensive line is coming off it's best performance all season as they played consistent football and played together as a unit. This cohesiveness is largely due to the fact that most of the original rotation is back from injury. Coach O said, "It's a good thing having several options. The last couple of weeks we didn't have many options so we just had to put guys in there."
  • In terms of who will start for the O-line on Saturday, Coach O said that all depends on the status of Kevin Graf. They really liked their rotation from last week but obviously will move things around depending on Graf. "If Kevin's healthy he will start at right tackle," confirmed the head coach.
Here's the head coach after Thursday's practice...

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