Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's practice:
After being uncommonly pleased with his team's collective performance Wednesday, Lane Kiffin was considerably less so Thursday. The coach described the two-hour practice as just "OK." Asked to expand on that thought, he continued: "Nothing really special. A number of dropped balls, missed assignments, had to repeat some plays in our service team that we'd like not to on a Thursday."
The injury report didn't change from Wednesday: defensive end Nick Perry and cornerbacks Brian Baucham and Nickell Robey were all limited, and linebacker Simione Vehikite each did not practice. Cornerback T.J. Bryant -- who we have more on further down -- participated fully.
Perry has looked great in his return from a high-ankle sprain that sidelined him for nearly a month and forced him to miss the Hawaii game, but Kiffin has consistently termed him as "limited" while relaying the injury list this week. But Jurrell Casey and Armond Armstead's full-on switches to new positions on the defensive line seem to indicate that the coaching staff is prepared to re-insert Perry into the starting lineup on Saturday -- with Wes Horton manning the strongside end spot across from him. Horton, who was one of the better Trojans defenders against Hawaii, also seems to have proved to Ed Orgeron and Co. that he can be a full-time player at end now. He'll have to be, at least -- USC's only backups at end against Virginia will be senior Derek Simmons, who played end for the first time against the Warriors, and untested freshmen Kevin Greene and Christian Thomas.
USC linebackers coach Joe Barry, on Virginia running back Keith Payne, who ran the ball 16 times for 114 yards and four touchdowns in the Cavaliers' season opener, and Virginia's run-based offense as a whole, which deeply contrasts with the only other offense USC has faced this season -- pass-heavy Hawaii: "We've definitely gotta have a plan for that kid. He's a big back, coming off a great game. They're gonna come in here and want to run the ball -- get two backs and two tight ends and just try to run the ball. Week in and week out, whether you're playing a four-wide team or a two-wide, two-back, one-tight end team, whatever personnel you go against, you gotta rise up to the challenge and I think our guys are."
Final notes: The Trojans will hold a brief, hour-long walk-through Friday before departing for a team hotel in the evening, where they will spend the night before Saturday's 7:30 p.m. game against Virginia. ... Two walk-ons were added to USC's roster on Thursday: safety Greg Caruso and defensive end/tight end Peter Yobo. Yobo, listed as a redshirt junior, threw the javelin for the Trojans' track and field team last spring.
Kiffin spoke to the media following Thursday's practice in his last of many mid-week sessions in advance of the Virginia game.
See what he had to say this time around:
Bryant has made a full recovery from the fractured cheekbone that sidelined him for all of fall camp. His return to the practice field comes at a convenient time, with both Robey and Baucham nursing undisclosed injuries in practice this week and appearing questionable for the Virginia game.
Much playing time has come Bryant's way in the three practices he has participated in and the junior could conceivably see the field in nickel situations for the Trojans on Saturday -- and, at the very least, in occasional dime packages.
Torin Harris would be the first one to step in across from Shareece Wright if Robey was unable to start. Walk-on Daniel Harper got onto the field against Hawaii when both Harris and Wright were being treated in the locker room for cramps, but Bryant would now seem to get the call in a similar situation.
See what Bryant had to say about the cornerback situation Thursday in a one-on-one video interview in which he also addresses Stanley Havili being named a captain for USC: