Thursday evening practice report

Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's late practice:

  • Offensive guard Butch Lewis and safety Drew McAllister each visited with a hip specialist during the break between practices Thursday. Lewis, a senior slated to start at left guard, was relieved to find out his injury was only a slight strain of a groin muscle. He expects to be back by Monday after sitting out Friday and Saturday's practices and using Sunday's off day as another rest day. McAllister, meanwhile, got less definitive results from his meeting. He said twice that the doctor was "not 100 percent sure" what exactly was the extent of his injury, but he said he was still hoping to play in the season opener vs. Hawaii on Sept. 2. We'll have more on this in the morning.

  • Coach Lane Kiffin has been quick to compliment cornerback Nickell Robey throughout fall camp, but he took it one step further Thursday when he said Robey will "no doubt" play this season. He said he expected the true freshman -- listed at 5 feet 8, 165 pounds but perhaps an inch smaller -- to play in nickel situations, and added that Robey could very well end up being the starter across from Shareece Wright come September. He has also been returning punts and kicks in practices and earned effusive praise from special teams coach John Baxter twice during Thursday's practice.

  • On-field highlights: Quarterback Mitch Mustain, profiled here, connected with freshman receiver Robert Woods for a long scoring pass on the last play of practice. ... Junior defensive tackle Jurrell Casey's dominating play during one-on-ones earned him a comparison to former Trojan Mike Patterson from Kiffin.

  • Position changes: Freshman Christian Thomas has been moved over to defensive end from tight end because of depth issues on the line, Kiffin said. Earlier Thursday, Kiffin announced senior defensive tackle Derek Simmons would also switch to end while Nick Perry recovers from a high-ankle sprain expected to sideline him two to four weeks.

  • Kiffin, on the success of night practices for the Trojans: "The positive thing about this format -- of having one practice a day -- is that they have come out and given us really a high level of energy in the practice and intensity."


Hear what Kiffin said during his post-practice meeting with the media Thursday: