Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's practice:
Coach Lane Kiffin had preached to his team earlier in the week that the effort they were exerting in practice wasn't enough. Thursday, he felt his message got through to them. "They were great today," he said after linebacker Chris Galippo called it one of the best practices of the season. "Great focus. Backups were focused. We just had to really make sure they understood how critical this was and also show them the other side of it. It was really good to see them today and now we’re going to have to continue to focus for the next 48 hours.”
Running back Marc Tyler will start against the Beavers, Kiffin said, after the redshirt junior looked "really good" in practice Thursday, getting the majority of the first-team carries. It's a bit of an unusual move for Kiffin, who has in large part refused to name a starter at that position each week this season. But Tyler's performance Thursday, he said, made him realize that it was his job to lose. Senior Allen Bradford said that USC's frequent tendency to use multiple backs means that the reserve running backs could still get a chance to run it at Oregon State. "Whoever gets hot, that's who the coaches are gonna go with," Bradford said. "If a running back is getting nine yards a carry, then that's who is going to play."
Injury report: safety Jawanza Starling (hamstring), center Abe Markowitz (foot), tight end Blake Ayles (concussion), cornerbacks T.J. Bryant (shoulder) and Torin Harris (shoulder) did not practice, along with Dillon Baxter, who was ill and hospitalized. Bryant and Harris both had MRIs on labrums in their shoulder; both are fine and should play Saturday, Kiffin said. Speaking to the media Wednesday, Bryant seemed to indicate that his labrum injury -- an aggravation of what he originally suffered in high school -- would put him out of commission this week, but Kiffin said otherwise. Players hurt earlier in the week who were full participants Thursday included cornerback Brian Baucham and receiver Brice Butler.
On the topic of Baucham, Bryant and Harris, the Trojans are obviously very short on healthy players at the cornerback position this week. Kiffin said he was "very concerned" about depth at the spot, with only Nickell Robey and Shareece Wright healthy for a while now. USC is so thin at the position that freshman Anthony Brown, a prospective redshirt this season, was practicing with the first-team at times earlier this week. Said Kiffin: "Whoever is going to play is going to have to make plays for us against a very good passing offense.”
The topic of all-black uniforms was brought up to Kiffin, with Washington sporting them against UCLA on television Thursday night. While coaching at Tennessee last year, Kiffin famously had his Volunteers wear black jerseys -- albeit with their normal orange pants -- and saw his team respond with a big home victory over South Carolina on Halloween night. But he didn't seem enthused about the prospects of the black working for the Trojans."I don’t see that ever happening here at ‘SC," Kiffin said. "We tried to get black socks here for our players here and that didn’t happen.”
Final notes: Kiffin was asked if freshman receiver Robert Woods would ever be tried at cornerback again, as he was last month in the week before the Cal game. Said the coach: “That was going to be at one point, but when he got hurt in that Oregon game, that set us back. So now we’re just trying to get him back 100 percent on offense.”...USC will hold one last morning walk-through on Howard Jones Field before departing for Oregon at 2 p.m.
Kiffin spoke to the media after Thursday's practice and appeared to be pretty pleased with his team's practice, talking over Oregon State's offensive attack and Jacquizz Rodgers specifically, plus a variety of other topics.
See all of what he had to say:
USC linebackers coach Joe Barry has a history with Oregon State coach Mike Riley, having played at USC while Riley was an assistant.
Barry has high praise for the 57-year-old Beavers coach, disregarding OSU's so-so season so far this year and stressing that the Trojans must come to play Saturday.
See all of what Barry had to say in a one-on-one video interview Thursday, including his comments on the continued progress of linebackers Devon Kennard and Chris Galippo: