Thursday practice report

A few quick notes from today's full-pads practice:

  • The USC offense performed significantly better Thursday than it had Tuesday, according to coach Lane Kiffin — who also said he liked the improved intensity out of his team. The Trojans connected on a number of big plays, including touchdown passes from Mitch Mustain to Ronald Johnson, Travon Patterson and Kyle Prater during seven-on-seven drills. Redshirt freshman cornerback Torin Harris, who seems to be making a name for himself as a ballhawk, came up with another interception in the endzone Thursday in one-on-ones.

  • A few injury reports have come in. Safety Marshall Jones is likely to miss the rest of spring practice because of a sprained neck he suffered last week. He missed the final nine games of last season with a cracked vertebrae and is wearing a similar brace on his neck to what he wore last year.

  • Offensive tackle Matt Kalil's out with a sore hip but is considered day-to-day. Redshirt freshman Kevin Graf replaced him for the most part Thursday.

  • Tight end Blake Ayles was forced to miss practice with a concussion, leaving the Trojans with just one scholarship tight end — Jordan Cameron — and a total of three players at the position. Cameron caught two touchdown passes Thursday in Ayles' stead.

  • Linebacker Jarvis Jones' condition hasn't improved, as the sophomore hasn't been cleared by team doctors to practice because of a neck injury he suffered last season. The likelihood of that happening is slim, Kiffin said.

  • After practice, USC linebackers coach Joe Barry, who came to the Trojans this year from the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, gave an update on the state of the linebacking position. As part of the coaching staff's plan to rotate middle linebacker candidates Chris Galippo and Devon Kennard evenly at the position, Thursday was Galippo's day to practice with the first team. Barry talked about that decision and his growing familarity with the linebacking crew as a whole:

  • Meanwhile, USC defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron fielded questions from the media on a variety of topics, including his relationship with assistant head coach Monte Kiffin and the differences between his two tenures in Troy: