Written by Caroline Deisley and Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributors
Despite the surprise of showgirls and bowl gifts, the Trojans got down to business for another tough, physical practice in preparation for Fresno State on Saturday.
- The welcoming committee sent by the Las Vegas Bowl certainly got the players even more excited for Saturday's matchup but running back Buck Allen maintained that the players' focus is not on the location, but rather the task at hand. "It's not about the showgirls or Vegas or anything like that," explained the team MVP. "We just want to go out, have fun and send the seniors out on a good note. We want to win that last game and end the season with a W."
- Starting quarterback Cody Kessler added that it's a business trip for the team to finish what they started. He said, "You want to win for the guy next to you. You want to win for the seniors. There's no one on this team that's ever been selfish."
- Marqise Lee also recognizes the importance of Saturday's game as he reminisced on an adverse season. "I'm very pleased with this whole team and the way things turned out. Expectations were low for us and we showed everybody we were capable," said the wide receiver. "Now we've got a chance to win 10 games. Not everybody gets that chance."
- Head coach Clay Helton says Lee is finally nearing a complete recovery as he heads into his final game of the 2013 season. "He's looking really good right now. I think the last two days of practice have been the best he's had all year. You can see the health coming back. It makes our job a lot easier when he's healthy."
- Marqise Lee is not the only Trojan who battled injuries throughout the season that will be back for the bowl game. USC is finally healthy at the wide receiver position as well as at tight end with Xavier Grimble, Randall Telfer and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick all expected to play well. The only depth concern remains at the offensive line, but Helton assured that the coaching staff has an emergency plan in case of injury.
- Though Fresno State gave up a whopping 736 yards in their loss to San Jose State, the Trojans' coaching staff is wary of the Bulldogs' defensive talent. "This is a very good defense and I love their mentality. They load the box and always have an extra number in there so they are committed to stopping the run," cautioned the head coach. "That doesn't mean we aren't going to run the ball. We're just gonna do what we do and see if they can stop us."
- When asked for an offensive game plan regarding Saturday's game, Helton declared, "I don't think we're going to save one bullet in this game."
- Here's Coach Helton's presser after today's practice...