Wednesday Practice Report

Running back Dillon Baxter returned to practice Wednesday, his first action since suffering a foot injury at Stanford.

More Suspensions
USC freshman wide receiver Markeith Ambles was suspended indefinitely Tuesday for arriving late to multiple team functions. first reported the story.

The Los Angeles Times also reported that redshirt freshman linebacker/fullback Simione Vehikite was suspended earlier this month.

USC coach Lane Kiffin said the suspensions were similar to that of freshman defensive back Patrick Hall, who was suspended from team activities in August and reinstated in September.

"I've said it before here, we have extremely high standards for our players as student-athletes. Markeith wasn't meeting those, so he was suspended indefinitely," Kiffin said. "We're not going to let kids come here and not take a serious approach toward academics and just think they can play football.

"If you're not going to come here to be a student-athlete, you should go somewhere else."

A four-star recruit and Scout's No. 24-ranked receiver prospect, Ambles caught one pass for four yards at Hawaii, denying him the chance to redshirt this season. He has played sparingly since, appearing in just three other games.

Kiffin said he was hopeful that Vehikite and Ambles could rejoin the team soon.

"Going back to Simi, Patrick Hall and now Markeith have all been all young kids that didn't understand our expectation level," Kiffin said. "None of it had to do with anything with the law or anything criminal, anything big. It's simply not meeting our expectations."

Baxter's Back
Freshman running back Dillon Baxter returned to practice Wednesday, his first action since suffering a foot injury at Stanford.

"I'm alright, like 90 percent," Baxter said. "I got cleared like two days ago and I could have practiced yesterday but I kind of wanted to take it easy a little more, get it stretched out. They gave me a little time today and it was cool."

Baxter rushed for a touchdown out of the Wildcat against the Cardinal and said he would be fully healthy by Saturday.

Matthews in the Middle
There might be a few flashbacks this week watching a certain longhaired linebacker with outstanding bloodlines run around the Coliseum. Only this time, he'll be wearing an Oregon jersey.

Senior linebacker Casey Matthews has intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles this season, anchoring an opportunistic Ducks defense.

USC running back Marc Tyler played with Matthews in high school, the two starting at linebacker for Westlake Village Oaks Christian under Casey's father, legendary Trojans linebacker Clay Matthews Jr.

"Man, Casey, he was a smart football player," Tyler said. "Being there with his dad, his dad was a great linebackers coach and he was hard on us, especially me. I always used to get mad at Casey, because he used to be in my way because he was a lot slower then. I watch him on film, he's doing good.

"He looks like (his older brother and former USC linebacker) Clay out there with the hair and everything. It should be fun."

Hot Reads
-Defensive end Nick Perry missed practice for reasons related to his sprained ankle, but Kiffin declined to provide further details.

Offensive tackle Tyron Smith did not practice, while linebacker Malcolm Smith and running back C.J. Gable were limited.

-After holding a rare Monday practice earlier this week, Kiffin said most of the team's physical preparation for Oregon was now complete.

"There will still be a lot of mental work over the next three days all the way up to the game, but a lot of the physical work is done," Kiffin said. "I thought they worked extremely hard over the last two weeks, so now it's time to get our legs back because we're really tired right now." Top Stories