Notes and quotes from Thursday's practice, with videos to follow:
First of all, our Ted Miller was in attendance. Here are some of his quick thoughts, including comments regarding USC's defensive line and a slimmed-down Matt Barkley.
The big defensive plays of the day came from Devon Kennard and Byron Moore. Kennard, a sophomore who moved to middle linebacker at the start of spring practice, leveled running back Marc Tyler behind the line of scrimmage in team drills; Moore, a redshirt freshman currently playing safety, made a remarkable interception of a deep ball during passing drills. Offensively, Barkley and receiver Ronald Johnson connected on an impressive corner-of-the-end-zone touchdown pass.
Injury update: receiver De'Von Flournoy, who had his number changed from 1 to 81 by Kiffin before Tuesday's practice, evidently pulled his hamstring Tuesday and was unable to suit up Thursday. He is expected to be out of Saturday's scrimmage. Running back C.J. Gable, who played sparingly in last Saturday's scrimmage due to a neck injury, is feeling better and is scheduled to earn more carries in this Saturday's scrimmage. USC still has just seven offensive linemen available.
Coach Lane Kiffin told reporters that Barkley is leading the race to be the starting signal-caller over senior Mitch Mustain, but added that no decision has been made at any starting spot.
Early enrollees Kyle Prater and Dillon Baxter continued to impress in drills, as did senior receiver Ronald Johnson, who caught the final pass of practice — a touchdown throw from Mustain. Johnson, on what he has seen from Prater so far: "Him and Dillon Baxter, they want to get better. And you can't really teach that."
Linebacker Malcolm Smith was the only Trojan named to the Lott Trophy Watch List today. Named after former USC safety Ronnie Lott, the award goes to the best defensive impact player each season.
John Robinson, a two-term coach with the Trojans (1976-1982, 1993-1997) attended practice.