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USC Football Notebook: Williams Continues Impressive Freshman Year

Will Robinson |
October 17, 2012 | 3:48 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor

Cornerback Robey showed respect for Colorado's offense. (Scott Enyeart/NT)
Cornerback Robey showed respect for Colorado's offense. (Scott Enyeart/NT)
USC practiced the second time this week in preparation to face the visiting Colorado Buffaloes this Saturday. The team took the field away from its normal practice site of Howard Jones Field, to the adjacent Dedeaux Field baseball stadium.

Per media guidelines, defensive players and coaches were made available for face time, and as such, that drove much of what head coach Lane Kiffin discussed.

"We're not worried about Colorado. We're worried about ourselves."

 That quote was courtesy of junior cornerback Nickell Robey, who replied with that statement when asked how the team stays motivated against a Colorado team that has struggled thus far, winning just one game (by one point) and getting blown out in the other five.

"We're getting down to the crunch time of the season where we gotta worry about our self," Robey said. "Paying attention to what we do is more important than anything."

The Colorado receiving corps is decidedly weaker without former Serra standout Paul Richardson, former teammate of USC wideouts Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and George Farmer. But on film, Robey still sees a competent group.

"They look great on film, they do everything pretty good," Robey explained. "They got a great quarterback. I'm excited what he's gonna throw at us Saturday."

Colorado is ranked 77th nationally in passing yards and 106th for points scored, eclipsing 30 points once this year and 20 points twice. A dominant Trojan performance is expected Saturday.

Williams making a name for himself

Williams has already been impressive through six games. (James Santelli/NT)
Williams has already been impressive through six games. (James Santelli/NT)
With defensive end Morgan Breslin pegged as the year's biggest defensive revelation, freshman Leonard Williams has been another pleasant surprise. The Florida product played his best game last Saturday against Washington, according to Kiffin, causing chaos in the backfield from the defensive tackle position (for the football savvy, the three technique).

"At times, he was dominant [last week], on the road as a true freshman," Kiffin said.

Even the man himself is surprised at his early success.

"I came in with confidence, but I didn't expect to be this great this soon," Williams admitted. "I really think it's all [defensive] coach [Ed Orgeron]. If I didn't have him, I wouldn't be here."

A few key defenders on this team are from the south. As Kiffin pointed out, USC's pipeline started about a decade ago with big Mike Williams.

And Robey -- certainly biased as a Frostproof, Fla. native -- agrees the Trojans should tap into the Sunshine State for talent more often.

"If we get more Florida boys out here, that would make the team a lot better. That's a guarantee," Robey laughed.

Assorted updates

 ** The left tackle fight is still ongoing, as Kiffin said, between the incumbent Aundrey Walker and freshman Max Tuerk. Each player is expected to play against Colorado.

** Much has been made of the lacking pass game, but Kiffin insisted the run game was as important.

"It was really critical to show that we can run the ball for our opponents that we play," the coach said. "We don't ever want to be a team that's just a 'throw the ball around' team. Most of those teams that throw the ball a ton don't have very good defenses."

Special note

Today was the last day at USC practice for Michael Lev of The Orange County Register. Lev had covered the USC beat since summer 2008 and will report on his last Trojans football game Saturday. He's one of the best beat writers in the conference, much less for USC. The beat will miss Lev and his insight into the Trojans. Best of luck to Lev at his new role, covering the NFL for the Register.


Reach Senior Sports Editor Will Robinson here. Follow him here.



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