Tailback Chane Moline started the week with questions regarding the health of a knee, after taking a shot there against Arizona State. But the senior back went through practice and looked healthy, taking part in all team periods...
Jake Dean, who started at right guard against the Sun Devils, again was taking the majority of reps there with the No. 1 offense. Dariius Savage also got a few reps...
The tackling portion of practice early on did not go particularly well, but that's not unusual...
Freshman offfensive lineman Stan Hasiak was not in practice - he has the flu...
Offensive guard Ryan Taylor, coming back from a right foot injury, did some straight ahead running. He clearly was not 100 percent, but Coach Rick Neuheisel said there is a chance he could practice tomorrow...
Rick Neuheisel spoke after practice Tuesday.
‘'Good practice, good start to the week. The kids are into it, as well you would think, and we're going to have to have that kind of week if we're going to have a chance and I'm excited to continue along that track.''
Could you talk about the progress of the offensive line against Arizona State …
‘'Well, I think we're certainly working towards being a more effective offensive line. I'm not sure we're there yet, but we're certainly working towards it. We've got some great young guys in there that are very prideful about playing well. We've got to clean up the penalties and we've got to make sure that we're consistent and if we can do those two things we'll become a much better team in the front.''
How much does the fact both teams have freshman quarterback reflect the ups and downs …
‘'Oh, I think that's a huge part of it. That's not to slight either quarterback - I think both are going to be really good players. But it's a hard position to play without experience and you can't manufacture experience. They kind of have to go through it and, you know, offensive coordinators try to protect them with play calls and so forth, but sometimes you get in games where you can't and so I think it's part of the growing pains of the position.''
Is there an area where you've seen the most improvement in Kevin Prince?
‘'I think mainly confidence, just that ability … with confidence comes the ability to hang on and just know that something good is going to happen rather than push that panic button too early.''
Are the seniors approaching this as their last game coming up or are they actively thinking they're going to make it to a bowl game?
‘'It's the only game we think about. This is our game and looking forward to playing it and we'll see what happens after.''
Is USC significantly quicker than the Arizona State team you saw?
‘'They are as fast a team as we'll see all year, but I don't know if 'significantly' is the right word. Arizona State was pretty quick on defense and Tennessee was pretty quick on defense and so forth, but this is certainly a lightning fast team.''
Can you have the same type of success with Chane Moline atbtailback …
‘'That remains to be seen. I don't think we can do it wholesale. I think we're going to have to mix things up.'' Why is that?
‘'Well, I just think we're going to need some more explosive plays that are going to require more than just our bigs on the field.''
It seems like throughout the course of this rivalry like there are a lot players who have either siblings or a dad who has played at the other school. Did you see that to the same degree at Washington, with Washington State?
‘'No, because you're right here in the same town. So many high school players are recruited from right around here, this is a unique situation that the schools are 12 miles apart. And they both have the same recruiting area and the same fertile recruiting area, so you're going to get lots of guys who played against one another and brothers and all that sort of stuff. It really is a unique situation that way.''
Is there something about it, that maybe the family ties don't mean as much, or I guess the flip side of that is if you're recruiting a kid whose brother is at USC or his dad played there, you can get in on them a little more easily?
‘'In some households that's certainly the case and then there are some that are just dyed in the wool, one way or the other. This is a passionate rivalry – there are people that bleed for both dies – and that's what makes it fun.''
Can you give us a quick injury report?
‘'I think we're almost healthy. Ryan Taylor worked on the side today and I think will practice tomorrow, so we'll see where he is.''
‘'Morrell is still probably down. I would say questionable at best.''