Ten scholarship players, Lane Kiffin pointed out Tuesday, have essentially missed all of spring practice.
Cornerbacks Torin Harris and T.J. Bryant and linebackers Chris Galippo, Devon Kennard and Shane Horton. Offensive linemen Khaled Holmes and Kevin Graf, defensive linemen Christian Tupou and Armond Armstead and receiver Kyle Prater.
A number of others have missed significant portions, including defensive end Wes Horton, linebacker Dion Bailey and running back Marc Tyler. So the fact that defensive backs Demetrius Wright and Tony Burnett each went down because of ankle injuries in Saturday's scrimmage at the Coliseum only add to the Trojans' total, and it's starting to look as if a mighty large number of players won't be able to participate in the pinnacle of the spring, Saturday's spring game at the Coliseum.
"The injuries are starting to mount," Kiffin said Tuesday. "It’s that time of spring when guys have to push through. I’m sure numbers are down across the country. I think Saturday it showed up, going out there and the weather being hotter than what we’re used to. We were very fatigued. Guys didn’t finish very well. The end of the film wasn’t very good. In a way, it was good to have that happen so our players can see how far away we are."
The exact number of players who will sit out of the spring finale won't be known until at least Thursday, but it'll be somewhere in the range of 12 players. Out of the 10 who've missed the whole spring, only Tupou really has a chance to get back by Saturday, and there's always the other injuries that have mounted over the course of the spring.
Tyler, who suffered a concussion in a scrimmage 10 days ago, hasn't returned and is questionable, too. Running back Dillon Baxter suffered a high-ankle sprain the same day and hasn't returned yet either, and Wright and Burnett missed their first practices because of injury Tuesday.
All the injury talk had Kiffin thinking about the fall, when most of the 10 injured players should presumably be back and the Trojans will also be able to add in a whole new recruiting class that numbers 24 players -- 23 freshman and one junior.
"Basically, you’re looking at 10 scholarship players who haven’t practiced this spring," Kiffin said. "When you add the 24 coming in, that’s 34 new scholarship players coming in. Not only does that obviously help your depth, it makes your practices better and it makes your players better.
"Right now we have a number of players where we find them coasting a little bit because there is no one behind them; regardless, they can’t be demoted. That’s hopefully something we’ll fix in the fall."