A few extra observations, notes and video from Saturday's practice as part of our "day after" series:
As Lane Kiffin alluded to on Friday, freshman tight end Christian Thomasspent Saturday's practice trying out defensive end for the first time. The exceedingly athletic Thomas made a number of plays on offense during the first three days of camp but looks to be Kiffin's first choice of the three freshmen tight ends to switch positions. Rancho Cucamonga native Randall Telfer struggled in a pass-catching drill for tight ends Saturday as Kiffin watched and played the part of the strongside linebacker at times; Las Vegas product Xavier Grimble continues to look like the most physically ready of three.
The praise continues to come in for freshman receiver Markeith Ambles, whom Kiffin has complimented after each day of practice so far. Saturday, Ambles had probably the best catch of the camp so far, reaching back -- almost between his legs, even -- while in the end zone to catch a poorly thrown ball that was intended to go over his head and grab it without any apparent difficulty. Fellow freshman Kyle Prater did many of the same things when he enrolled early and participated in spring practice but has evidently lost some ground to Ambles while nursing a hip injury in fall.
Kiffin spotlighted redshirt freshman defensive end James Boydafter Saturday's practice when asked if he was pleasantly surprised by anyone's performance, but the coach seemed unaware that Boyd had sat out almost all of the practice with what appeared to be a right knee injury. Early on Saturday, Boyd made his way over the the training table. He stayed there for the duration of practice, and when the defensive line walked off the field after practice came to an end, he was wearing a knee wrap and walking gingerly.
USC cornerback Shareece Wrighthas only three career starts on his resume, a remarkably low number considering that the redshirt senior is expected to be one of the Trojans' primary leaders on the defensive side of the ball -- especially in the secondary. But that fact doesn't worry Wright, who instead focuses on tutoring his younger teammates in the secondary.
Interestingly, Wright, 23, has at least two and a half years on each of the six players competing to fill the three spots alongside him in the secondary, safeties Drew McAllister, Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonaldand cornerbacks T.J. Bryant, Brian Baucham and Torin Harris -- including more than four years each on Starling and Harris.
Wright talks about why his teammates come to him for advice in the below video and adds perspective on his long-time connection with fellow Trojan leader and starter Allen Bradford: