Notes, quotes and video from Wednesday's practice:
Coach Lane Kiffin was impressed with the Trojans' effort during practice Wednesday -- at least as far as the defense is concerned. Kiffin spotlighted the defense for a good practice, one in which they forced three turnovers, but also talked about the possibility that USC may have to resort to untested backups on the defensive line against the Gophers on Saturday.
On that note, listed as limited on the injury report were defensive linemen Nick Perry and Armond Armstead, although Perry did seem to participate in a fair amount of on-field drills and Armstead was moving around a bit on the sideline. Tight end Jordan Cameron and linebacker Marquis Simmons also appeared on the limited list, but Cameron was involved in a great deal of practice and looks to be on track to play against Minnesota.
Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, on his move to nose tackle for the Virginia game and whether he enjoyed the switch: "First game back at nose this year, I didn't like it (very much.) I played pretty well, but I couldn't make as many plays as I did when I was at the (three-technique spot). But, if I would've gotten in a little bit more of a rhythm I'm pretty sure I would've got something done."
And about what his role will be on Saturday considering a likely influx of new players on the line if Perry and Armstead are unable to go because of their injuries: "Yeah, it'll just be a little different, because you got the young guys coming in and you're trying to get them to remember their plays, remember to get their jobs done. But I'm pretty sure they'll be back and ready to play for us this week. And I'm pretty sure the young guys are gonna get their things together so when they get in there they can do the job also."
Linebackers coach Joe Barry was asked if -- given middle linebacker Devon Kennard's obvious improvement since he first moved to the position in the spring -- it's sometimes possible to see improvement in Kennard's game from the first half to the second half of a game: "I don't know if I'd go that extreme, but except for two or three plays, I don't think he played bad against Hawaii. I think he played pretty solid. I thought he played even better the Virginia game than he did the Hawaii game. And, as a coach when you're coaching a young player, that's all you want: daily improvement, every game improvement. And Devon -- and all the other guys that have played as well -- is doing that right now.
On-field highlights: Linebacker Ross Cumming picked off a Mitch Mustain pass and took it back the other way for a score during seven-on-seven drills, and defensive backs Demetrius Wright and Daniel Harper collided in an awkward way near the goal line when a receiver split between them to make a touchdown grab, but both got up just fine.
Final notes: Thursday at 2:15 p.m. will be the Trojans' final practice of game week, followed by a trip to Minnesota. ... Kiffin, on whether he considers Minnesota his home after spending three of his high-school years there while father coached for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings: "Well I've got a lot of homes, we moved like 17 times. Everywhere we play seems to be a home."
Kiffin spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice, addressing a number of current issues facing the team.
See what he had to say:
Running back Dillon Baxter finally made his debut Saturday against Virginia and was successful in doing so, gaining 49 yards on the ground on nine carries. He seems certain that he will get more touches in USC's offense this week against Minnesota -- more than the 11 he did against the Cavaliers.
See what he had to say on that topic and about his role in the Trojans' developing running back tandem alongside Marc Tyler.