The first time USC freshman wide receiver Robert Woods met with the media, he talked about being "the opposite of Charles Woodson," an offensive player who dabbles on defense.
"It was one of my goals coming out of high school to play both ways," Woods reiterated Wednesday.
He might get his wish sooner than expected. Coming off a 12-catch, 224-yard, three-touchdown performance against Stanford, Woods worked as a cornerback during 7-on-7 drills, matching up with Brice Butler on three consecutive plays, after participating in individual drills as a defensive back the pervious day.
"They have used me in practice, used me a little bit yesterday and got a little more reps today," said Woods, who could play nickel back against Cal.
USC coach Lane Kiffin had talked about using two-way players once scholarship reductions begin next year, but said he was "very seriously" considering deploying Woods this week.
"Here is someone who was a great player on defense in high school and we're always going to look at as many things as we can. As we continue down the road with this probation and sanctions the possibility of guys playing both ways if they can do it, he's kind of the first guy were looking at," Kiffin said."
"He did it today. We'll see."
The Trojans have struggled with their pass defense this season, notably on third and fourth downs. Opponents have converted 45.7 percent of third downs and are five of eight on fourth down.
Then again, Kiffin has been more than willing to try and confuse the opposition. He talked about the need to run the ball last week, only to try 46 passes and roll up 390 yards through the air.
If anything, Woods is getting an education on how opponents will try and defend him.
"It will definitely help me learning their viewpoint," he said, citing a lesson from defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza on the technique used against slot receivers.
Graf Gears Up
With right tackle Tyron Smith limited by an undisclosed injury, redshirt freshman Kevin Graf could make his first career start this Saturday.
"I'm really happy about it," the former Agoura standout said. "I've waited a long, long time for this to happen, very excited for it."
Graf knew it would be a struggle to see the field early with Smith and Matt Kalil entrenched as the two tackles, but hasn't been frustrated with his lack of playing time.
"I just got to keep my head up. Those are two very good players and I'm a snap away," he said.
Redshirt senior Butch Lewis was considered a candidate to serve as the utility lineman entering this season, given his experience at both guard and tackle, but Kiffin said it was easier to leave him at left guard this week rather than moving two players.
-DE Wes Horton (back), LB Malcolm Smith (knee), TE Jordan Cameron (knee) and RB Dillon Baxter (foot) did not practice Wednesday.
DE Nick Perry, LB Shane Horton, OL Khaled Holmes and Butch Lewis were limited.
-Kiffin said he heard back from the Pac-10 regarding issues with the game clock in the Trojans' 37-35 loss at Stanford, but did not elaborate on what actions if any were taken by the league office.
"They have dealt with it and that's all I can say," he said.