Tuesday Practice Report

Left guard Butch Lewis and strong safety Jawanza Starling will face competition this week to keep their spots in the starting lineup.

Called Out
USC coach Lane Kiffin followed through on his promise to open up two positions to competition this week.

On Tuesday, it became clear that offensive guard Butch Lewis and strong safety Jawanza Starling are at risk of losing their starting spots.

Michael Reardon worked as the starting left guard, while Marshall Jones saw reps at both safety spots while T.J. McDonald was limited with a tight hamstring.

Jones played 25 snaps against Oregon and graded out well, while Starling was frequently burned in coverage and struggled to tackle.

"Obviously they are giving me a chance, so I just got to make the best of my opportunities and see what happens," Jones said.

"We're going to alternate him throughout the week with Jawanza, see how they play throughout the week and make a decision late in the week," Kiffin said.

Lewis, and the offensive line as a whole, faced much harsher criticism. Kiffin lambasted them during the weekly Pac-10 coaches teleconference Tuesday morning.

"We were terrible Saturday night," Kiffin said. "As I told our team, we played as bad up front as I've seen in my seven years of being here, and we've got to go back to practice this week and get a lot better to prove that we are a good running team because right now we are not."

The Trojans rushed for just 113 yards on 36 carries against the Ducks.

"We looked back at that game, then we pulled some film from earlier in the year, and we don't even look the same," Kiffin said. "Our effort, taking the easy way out. Our run game is built on cutting people. We go into a game like that and rarely did it at all. That's a reason they were dominating us up front later in the game -- because our system wasn't what it was supposed to be. I'm really disappointed in that. Obviously it starts with coaching. We better get it fixed."

Lewis, who practiced at right tackle with Tyron Smith limited by injury, was singled out for criticism.

"We're going to give Mike Reardon a shot there this week in practice, see how he plays at left guard, because the production that we're getting there is completely unacceptable," Kiffin said after practice.

Lewis, a redshirt senior who has started 26 career games, including all eight this season at left guard, said he understood where Kiffin was coming from.

"He just wanted to light a little fire under our asses after last week because we didn't really play well as a group and individuals," Lewis said. "It's just opening up competition and push all of us to be our best."

Ironically Kiffin said Smith, who has barely practiced in recent weeks, performed well against Oregon.

"Surprisingly, he played the best of the group, really probably the only one who played functional, which is surprising because of him missing a lot of time," Kiffin said. "He's probably that rare guy who can miss time and still go out and play really well. He's done it a couple of times this year because he prepares so well and he works so hard when he is in there."

Hot Reads
-Defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo, defensive end Nick Perry, linebacker Chris Galippo, linebacker Devon Kennard, linebacker Malcolm Smith and running back C.J. Gable were limited in practice Tuesday, while offensive lineman John Martinez and tight end Blake Ayles did not practice.

-Center Abe Markowitz returned to practice Tuesday and said he would be ready to play this week.

Markowitz broke his right foot during fall camp, missing out on a chance for a homecoming in the season-opener at Hawaii.


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