USC Practice Notes: Tuesday, September 14
TUESDAY PRACTICE NOTES:
- Reggie Bush is going to give back his Heisman. Athletic director Pat Haden said it was “noble.”
- How does this impact the current team? It doesn’t. At least, that’s what Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley and Dillon Baxter said.
- Baxter did say Bush is his NFL idol. Baxter has been looking up to the San Diego legend since Bush was in high school and Baxter was a fresh face on the Pop Warner team after moving to the area from Jacksonville, Florida. Though he said he’s never met Bush, Baxter said Bush is “pretty much my main dude”:
“Ever since my freshman year in high school, I always wanted to break his records in high school. I broke those. Then I wanted to come to college and hopefully break them here. Just keep following him after and after.”
- On the field, senior Allen Bradford continues to try to make the most of his limited touches. After getting into the secondary on one run to the right, he made a quick, crisp cut toward the middle of field that turned safety Jawanza Starling around and left him chasing after Bradford.
- Some other great plays were made by the receivers in one-on-one drills against the cornerbacks. Freshman Kyle Prater and senior David Ausberry both used their physicality to get free against smaller defensive backs playing tight, press coverage. Ausberry also turned in mid-air and made a nice one-handed catch on a fade route during the drill.
- Robert Woods had the catch of the day though. During the same drill, Woods took on fellow freshman Nickell Robey and made an unbelievable catch. With Robey draped all over him, Woods palmed a back shoulder pass from Matt Barkley with his right hand and brought it to the front of his shoulder.
- Brice Butler didn’t have as strong a practice. After Butler dropped one pass in team drills, Malcolm Smith told the redshirt sophomore, “He’s not ready for the big time!” as Butler ran back to the huddle.
- Tight end Jordan Cameron missed practice after Kiffin said he sustained a concussion on the game-sealing recovery of Virginia’s onside kick.
- Defensive linemen Armond Armstead and Nick Perry were also held out of practice. DaJohn Harris, who had a sack against Virginia, and converted tight end Christian Thomas saw the majority of the snaps with the first team defense.
- How beat up is the defensive line? Even coach Ed Orgeron was on crutches after breaking a bone in his foot last week. His voice wasn’t broken though. During team drills, he could be heard across the field, and possibly across campus, screaming at his defensive linemen to “Get off the ground! Go after that ball!”
- In more upbeat news, redshirt freshman linebacker Marquis Simmons returned to practice exactly one month after having an appendectomy. He was obviously excited to be back on the field and showed his excitement by hitting any blocker he could while practicing with the service team.
- Kiffin said players that have yet to play this season are likely to redshirt as the team tries to cope with the NCAA-imposed scholarship limitations.
More from freshman running back Dillon Baxter:
- He said if he was fortunate enough to win a Heisman Trophy, he wasn’t going to do anything that would ever force him to return it: “Can’t do anything stupid like that,” he laughed.
- On his first game experience: “It was pretty wild. It wasn’t really what I expected it was going to be. I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that. I thought I was going to be real nervous, but I guess after all the practices I was able to stay focused and remain calm.”
- On what he sees when running the ball: “Basically, I just try to get [defenders] head up. If they come at an angle, I try to get them to over pursue – make them turn their hips – and then right after that, just cut.”
- Baxter said the biggest assets he brings to the team are his catching ability and his ability to occasionally make defenders miss.
- On traveling to play out of state for the first time: “I’m excited. I’ve always wanted to play away. I’ve heard it’s real loud and I’ve always wanted to not be able to hear what I can think.”
To reach reporter Shotgun Spratling, click here.
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