The numbers are catching up to them

LOS ANGELES -- USC is allowed only 75 scholarship players by the NCAA, fewer than any of the other 123 FBS teams will be permitted to have on their roster this season.

That's well-known by now, sure. But coach Lane Kiffin says it's just starting to catch up to his Trojans, who are having some trouble with injuries a week into fall camp.

With their starting left tackle and middle linebacker out, four of their top six receivers and one of their top three corners not practicing Saturday afternoon, the Trojans were shorthanded.

And Kiffin said after USC's first two-a-day of the camp season that he only feels comfortable with the current depth at three positions on the field: quarterback, running back and safety.

"Outside of that," Kiffin said, "we got a lot of work to do."

A lot of the work the Trojans have done this camp has been centered on developing depth -- many times in alternative ways. Just Saturday, they experimented with moving Hayes Pullard over to middle linebacker from the weak side and moved freshman Max Tuerk to left tackle from right.

And they've already switched defensive tackle J.R. Tavai to defensive end. So they're searching for depth wherever they can.

But, Kiffin said, any moves they make still won't offset the fact that they have fewer players than everybody else. And he believes it's a compounding problem, too. For every guy they don't have, one of their players they do have has to be on the field more and more, which makes him more susceptible to an injury.

"You feel the 10 people, wherever you put 'em," Kiffin said. "Three more linemen, two more defensive linemen, a linebacker, a safety. Wherever they are, you feel that.

"You feel it wear down your guys, and I think that's why we have so many guys beat up, because we don't have the numbers to go to."