LOS ANGELES -- Here are news and notes from Friday's practice that won't make it into our other coverage from the day:
USC coach Lane Kiffin backtracked some this week in saying that he may not name a backup quarterback for the season opener, but one of the involved players said Friday it makes little difference whether he does.
"We're both gonna compete this year regardless of what happens," said redshirt freshman Cody Kessler, who's competing with Max Wittek for the right to back up Matt Barkley.
Kessler said Kiffin has given him "no indication" of what his decision will be -- or if he will even make one. But, he said, he could see it working out to never name a single backup and split the job all season.
"I wouldn't be surprised if that's what happened this year, if we both shared reps and both got on the field," Kessler said. "Next year, when Matt leaves, is when it's going to really come down to competing for the starting spot.
"Right now, I think Max and I are just fighting to get on the field."
USC officially lost cornerback Isiah Wiley for the 2012 season on Friday when Kiffin announced he was ruled academically ineligible, but the Trojans also got a piece of good news when linebacker Marquis Simmons was ruled eligible.
Simmons, a fourth-year junior, has potential to be a special-teams ace, and he also has value as an older reserve with game experience. USC doesn't have many of those, as Kiffin has pointed out several times this camp.
Due to NCAA rules, Simmons can't put on full pads for the next two days, but he will begin working immediately at weakside linebacker, where redshirt freshman Anthony Sarao is currently the first-stringer.
"It’s good," Kiffin said of Simmons’ return. "It is good, especially on special teams as well."
On Friday nights preceding home games, USC typically travels by bus to Downtown Los Angeles and stays the night there to avoid distractions and enforce a curfew.
So the Trojans are doing the same thing this Friday night, bussing to Downtown and preparing as if they're playing a real game Saturday -- not a light scrimmage against one another.
USC won't tackle during Saturday's 11:30 a.m. scrimmage. The focus, instead, will be on the format of game situations and getting the in-game play-calling system down.
Defensive end Wes Horton, middle linebacker Lamar Dawson and cornerback Torin Harris all sat out of practice.
Horton is expected back for next week's opener, but the status of the other two is very much in question. Dawson has been nursing a calf injury for almost all of camp and Harris has a hamstring issue.
Receiver George Farmer, who sat out a portion of Thursday's practice, didn't appear to have any issues Friday, participating fully.
Freshman linebacker Jabari Ruffin has sat out the last two days of practice, though per USC policy, his injury was not revealed.
Final notes: USC worked extensively on special teams during Friday's light session, which lasted less than two hours. ... The Trojans are expected to release a depth chart in the next few days, although it may not be particularly informative. Kiffin indicated that Saturday's scrimmage will have little impact on the remaining position battles. ... The loss of Wiley for the season -- combined with the status of Harris -- could force the Trojans to keep sophomore Josh Shaw at corner for the first few weeks of the season. It would not be a massive surprise if he overtook Anthony Brown, now the presumptive starter, at some point.