One theme USC coach Lane Kiffin has stressed throughout the week is that Washington coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff, which includes defensive coordinator Nick Holt and four others who worked under Pete Carroll, knows the Trojans personnel as well, if not better, than the new regime.
"That's a very big advantage," Kiffin said. "We don't know Washington's guys. We didn't recruit them or coach them, or know exactly what they do well and what they don't. When you come from a place, you know that. You've been with them. You know their mentality, you know the things that they get beat on, you know the things that they do well."
Kiffin pointed to the unique circumstances of having both Sarkisian and Holt coaching against their former team.
"Think about that advantage: both coordinators," he said. "I bet that's never happened in football, that you play a team where the year before both coordinators were on the other staff. … It'll still be an advantage for them for the next two years."
Taking a page from Carroll, Sarkisian has played 14 true freshmen this season. He played 13 in the season-opening loss at BYU, one more than the Washington single season record.
Kiffin, who is taking the opposite approach because of upcoming scholarship reductions, has played just six and will redshirt the rest, but understands where his former colleague is coming from, especially because of the presence of star quarterback Jake Locker.
"If Jake's the first pick in the draft, that's very much like we walked in here and had Carson (Palmer)," Kiffin said. "The first year went through some struggles and did some good things, like Washington did, then had him for his last year just like he has Jake right now.
"It's the right way to go, especially when you're starting your first couple years, so in when you're in Year 3 and Year 4 they've played a bunch. I see him following that philosophy."
Two Washington freshmen are listed as starters for this week's game against USC, Erik Kohler (Westlake Village Oaks Christian) at left guard and Sean Parker (Harbor City Narbonne) will return kicks. Another first-year player, running back Jesse Callier, is second on the team in rushing with 143 yards and averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
-RB Allen Bradford did not practice Thursday after experiencing tightness in his back. He is expected to be available against the Huskies.
-DE Wes Horton (ankle) and CB T.J. Bryant were limited in practice.
-Matt Barkley and Locker were among the four quarterbacks invited on an East Coast media blitz organized by the Pac-10 over the summer and while they did not spend a lot of time together, there was one interesting revelation.
"He did tell me a story though that he wanted to play safety," Barkley said. "If he could rewind, he would have stuck with being a safety and hitting people. I didn't know that before, it was kind of interesting."