-- Running backs Maurice Drew and Chris Markey both had very limited reps in practice Tuesday. Drew was hampered by a sore hip and knee while Markey also had a sore knee resulting from Monday's practice. Coach Karl Dorrell said he expected both to play this weekend.
-- Offensive tackle Brian Abraham was injured during practice. Dorrell said he injured his ankle but he couldn't elaborated on the extent of the injury until after he had talked to the doctors.
-- Linebacker John Hale also saw limited reps as he continues to recover from a neck injury.
-- Linebacker Justin London had another successful practice and had been removed from red-jersey status.
-- Dorrell confirmed his earlier
remarks regarding center Mike McCloskey, saying that the latest MRI results
showed the four-year starting senior would indeed have to sit out the USC
-- Chris Horton, who was projected to be the starter at free safety this season but sat out six games due to an injured hand, could see extensive time Saturday, if not start.
-- Long Beach Poly wide receiver prospect Terrence Austin attended practice Tuesday, as did committed offensive lineman Jake Dean, from Lancaster Paraclete.
Karl Dorrell's post-practice comments:
"Good spirited practice today, again. You know, there is a lot of electricity in the air this week and I don't think there is ever an issue as to if guys are ready to practice and be ready to compete and do some great things Saturday. So I'm pleased with the effort out here. We are continually trying to get better at our game plan on both sides of the ball and on our special teams. There are two more days of preparation where we get to do some practice and execution on the field, then the walk through on Friday and then its time to let it go. But I'm very pleased with these last two practices, the guys are trying to fly around and do the right things and it's a good start to the beginning of the week."
You have a new injury today?
"Ahhh, a new injury…"
"Yeah, he looked like he tweaked his ankle a little bit, I don't know the extent of it but we'll see, hopefully it's not too significant, most likely just scar tissue, but we'll see what the doctors say. There were a couple of other guys we held out as well. Chris Markey had a sore knee from yesterday too. He landed on it. And Maurice Drew, his hip is still pretty sore and his knees are sore too so we didn't get him many reps as well. John Hale practiced some; he still has some irritation in his neck. Those are the guys we're hoping to have ready by the end of the week and we'll just have to see how the week unfolds."
Is there any reason to believe that Markey or Hale won't be ready to go?
"There's no reason to believe that right now, no. Abraham we'll see. I have to get a chance to talk to the doctors to see how significant that is."
Mike McCloskey saw the doctor last night?
How did that go?
"He went and had another MRI and he's not ready to play, so that's as much as we anticipated on Monday when we discussed that."
Considering USC's special teams coverage, is there any plan to use Maurice Drew as a kickoff returner?
"That's something we may consider to do, but that's still up in the air. We have what we want as kick returners right now and Maurice has done a nice job as our punt returner, so we'll just have to see how the game unfolds. He's ready to do both and so there may be a chance that could happen."
Do you anticipate this being the game where neither team punts to the other team's punt returner?
"I don't know if you can really anticipate that. We're just going to try to execute as well as we need to execute and try to score as well as we can try to take advantage of some opportunities. It is hard to tell how this game is going to play out and there are so many different ways people think its going to play out. We'll just going to see what actually happens. So that's the plan for right now."
No problems kicking to (USC running back) Reggie Bush then?
"There are always concerns, just like there is always a concern kicking to Maurice. So you run the risk of a number of things that could happen but we feel confident in our coverage teams and they have done a nice job all season and we're going to mix things up, that's the idea to mix things up. I don't want to go into any game plan now."
What's the bigger threat to your defense, Bush or their receivers?
"They are all a threat. They run the ball very well, they throw it well, their quarterback is a very good player, so there's not one thing. It's a pretty balanced offense and they do a pretty good job with their offensive line and good skill."
How does Justin London look today?
"He's like a bull in a china shop right now. He's trying to wreak havoc on everything that he sees and it is fun to see. He's playing and having a spirited practice session the past two days here and I want to get him to the game. He wants to do the game right now. But he's done a nice job and he's excited about playing this weekend and we're excited about having him back."
Do you anticipate getting Drew and Markey back in practice reps tomorrow?
"That's what we anticipate and we'll see how things unfold."