Vegas Bowl Practice #2: Notes

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The Trojans went through a short, "spirited" session, and now take three days off for finals.
  • Injury report: RB Silas Redd (knee), OLB Jabari Ruffin (neck), RB Tre Madden (high ankle) and LB Hayes Pullard (back) were all out today.  Madden is the most in danger of missing the bowl game, but the others could be back as early as Saturday.
  • The Trojans are focused on the number 10.  The search for a 10th victory is all the motivation this team needs heading into the Las Vegas Bowl.  "We have a goal," said interim head coach Clay Helton. "Any time you have faced the adversity that they have faced and you are going to get the opportunity to get your 10th win, that's pretty special.  That's what their ultimate goal is."
  • While many of the players were devastated by Ed Orgeron's departure, time has helped heal the wounds.  "I feel like the emotions have died," said DL George Uko.  "He was like a dad to us as a d-line and became a dad to the rest of them over the eight weeks, so it was a sad loss."
  • The Trojans have had three head coaches this season, and also three defensive line coaches as Ross Cumming inherits the role vacated by Orgeron and Pete Jenkins. "I talked to them and said, 'No one can replace Coach O.  I am not here to do that," said Cumming.  "'You have been taught some great fundamentals all year by Coach O and Coach Jenkins, and you won't forget that in two weeks.'"
  • Uko smiled when asked about "Coach Ross", "It's funny cause I played with him," he said.  "He's following the steps that Coach O and Coach Jenkins have already laid out for us."
  • Cumming acknowledged his youth by telling his unit to think of him as an uncle.  For Uko and Devon Kennard, he amended his familial title to big brother.  Either way, Cumming fits in well with a veteran group that has had a great season.  "It is a great room.  They tutor one and other.  It's a great room to walk into," he said.
  • With the Sun Bowl in mind, the media peppered the Trojans with questions about taking Fresno State lightly, but the players feel the exact opposite.  "We can't underestimate no team," said defensive captain Hayes Pullard.  "We have to go in there and prepare like we are second place and play like we are first place."
  • Here is Clay Helton's post-practice presser...

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