Notes, quotes and video from Wednesday's practice:
Trojans coach Lane Kiffin criticized his team after what he said was a lackluster session Wednesday, saying that a lack of intensity has been present in both practices preparing for Oregon State this week. Added Kiffin: "I don’t know whether it’s feeling good about themselves after a couple of wins, and they don't remember why we’ve played well lately is because we’ve practiced extremely well. Very disappointing, but there’s still enough time for us to get right and get ready to go up there.” Kiffin did say the usual leaders -- among them junior defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and fullback Stanley Havili -- continued to practice well, but the team as a whole didn't, he said. "Right now, our practicing isn't on par with where it should be," senior center Kristofer O'Dowd said. "The good thing is we have a couple days to narrow in on what we need to do and focus on that."
Injury report: cornerback T.J. Bryant (left shoulder) and Torin Harris, strong safety Jawanza Starling (hamstring), tight end Blake Ayles (concussion), receiver Brice Butler and center Abe Markowitz (foot) did not practice; defensive tackle Hebron 'Loni' Fangupo (ankle) was limited. Starling could return later this week, Kiffin said; Ayles said after the Arizona game that he'd be back by now from a head injury but is obviously still out. Bryant visited with team doctors Wednesday and underwent an MRI but did not yet know results after Wednesday's practice. He said he would know more Thursday: "I might have to have another surgery; I might not. We'll see when I go get the results." Bryant couldn't clarify exactly what the injury was or what surgery would do to it, but he said it involved his labrum, it had happened in high school and it has continued to bother him while he has been at USC. "I re-injure it every year, every time we practice," he said. "It consistently gets injured."
Senior linebacker Malcolm Smith has looked very good in his return from a knee injury that sidelined him for two games last month, returning against Arizona State and forcing a fumble and intercepting a ball and taking it back for a touchdown and forcing another fumble against Arizona last week. He said last week that his knee was still bothering him somewhat; Wednesday, all the memories of the injury and the recovery process felt washed away. "I feel like I'm doing things in a solid manner," Smith said. "There's always room to get better, but I feel alright."
Speaking of injured defenders making their ways back to the field, Kiffin was asked about defensive ends Wes Horton and Nick Perry, who each missed time earlier this season and experienced slowed progress because of it. "I would have thought they’d be further along now — it’s out of their control— but if they’d been healthy all the way through and not missed time like they did, I think they’d be further along," the coach said. "Both of them are really good pass rushers and they continue to improve against the run.”
Final notes: One more practice, Thursday at 4 p.m., and a Friday morning walk-through and the Trojans are off to Oregon. ...Kiffin, on trying to field a full squad to fly up to Oregon: “Unfortunately when we thought we were going to get healthier here, we seem to not be getting healthier. But we’ll go up with how many we can put on the plane."
Kiffin spoke to the media in a briefer-than-normal session Wednesday, answering questions about whether he felt Saturday's game against the Beavers had the potential of being a "trap game" and
See what he had to say about Oregon State's Stephen Paea, running back Marc Tyler and more:
Chris Galippo officially won back the starting middle linebacker job from Devon Kennard during practice last week and played the majority of snaps at the position against Arizona -- the first time this season he had done so.
Smith, who plays weakside linebacker, said that the switch didn't make a difference either way and that players offered "the same thing" at the spot, but USC did look a little less vulnerable when it came to big passing plays up the middle of the field.
See what Galippo had to say Wednesday about his climb back to starter status, the likely conditions in Corvallis, Ore. and more: