To call the Trojans' special teams performance against Arizona State a mixed bag doesn't even begin to describe it.
"I feel like all the time we've devoted to special teams is really paying off," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "To do what we're doing in year one already is great."
Kiffin's final addition to his coaching staff was renowned Fresno State special teams coach John Baxter and USC has invested significant portions of every practice in the spring and fall to every aspect of that area.
"Coach Baxter does a great job of preparing us," McDonald said. "He really breaks stuff down and pays attention to detail He puts us in a great position and we go out there and play."
That focus has trickled down to the players, with Smith noting a previous look set the stage for his blocked extra point.
"I knew he was trying to dive at my legs, took advantage of it and hopped over him," Smith said.
Cornerback Shareece Wright even forced Weber's field goal attempt to win the game wide left.
"I was actually on my way to block it," Wright said. "I knew he missed it right as when kicked it. If he would have kicked it right, we would have blocked it. He hooked it trying not to get it blocked."
"It's been hurting since then," Woods said. "I sat out Friday's practice and was limited today."
Woods was taken out of his role as kick returner, replaced by Ronald Johnson, and caught just three passes for 18 yards.
On the Trojans' first possession, however, he barely missed out on a 67-yard touchdown pass when quarterback Matt Barkley overthrew Woods as he ran wide-open toward the end zone.
"He's so tough, he tried to go, but he wasn't the same, you could see from the first play," Kiffin said.
Kiffin said Woods was hospitalized Thursday as pain from the injury intensified due to severe nausea.
"When I got sick, (the pain) it got worse," Woods said.
X-rays taken on Woods' back were negative, revealing a bone bruise and he said he would play against Arizona.
After promising to open up competition at several spots, USC coach Lane Kiffin followed through.
Baxter was told Friday night he would start, but the freshman from San Diego Mission Bay was also out there at the end, carrying twice on the final possession as the Trojans tried to run out the clock.
"They just told me to step in, fill in and do what I can," said Baxter, who rushed 17 times for 52 yards and caught four passes for 26 yards.
Kiffin called a misdirection pitch on third and four, a staple play to get Reggie Bush on the perimeter. Baxter said his biggest concern wasn't handling the ball but getting the first down.
"Man, I should have got the first down," he said. "I should have got it. It was just right there, I had to push a little harder. I'll get it next time."
Running back Allen Bradford was benched after his lone carry for two yards for poor ball security, Kiffin said.
The senior fumbled the football but officials had already blown the play dead.
With Bradford out of the game, Marc Tyler rushed for 119 yards on 12 carries before suffering a minor ankle injury on his final attempt.
USC freshman Robert Woods was limited because of an injured back.
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