Spring Practice: Woods Sparks Offense

Return of receiver Woods, improved line play helps offense to its best practice of spring.

Woods Sparks Offense
What a difference a day makes. Or in USC's case, one player.

The return of wide receiver Robert Woods helped spark the Trojan offense to its best day of the spring, bolstered by improved play on the offensive line.

Woods, who earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-America honors last season, returned after missing two practices with tightness in his hamstring.

While he was only 75-80 percent healthy by his own estimation, Woods made a series of spectacular receptions, including a long catch-and-run for a touchdown.

"Coming out today, I wasn't really sure if I was going to go or not, but I was feeling good," he said. (Coach Lane) Kiffin tried to keep me out a little bit, but I kept hopping in because my leg felt good."

As a true freshman, Woods was electric with 65 receptions for 792 yards and six touchdowns another score on a kick return, showing the same skills that helped Gardena Serra to a state championship.

Now he is looking forward to being reunited with high school teammates Marqise Lee and George Farmer.

"It's time to do it again, do it all over," Woods said. "I can rely on those (guys). I know what they have done before."

Asked to assess Farmer, Scout.com's No. 3 receiver prospect, and whether he can have a major impact as a freshman, Woods said, "He definitely has the skills.

"He's bigger than me, faster than me and stronger than me."

The presence of Woods and receiver De'Von Flournoy (hip) was offset by Brandon Carswell's early exit due to a tweaked hamstring. Still, it was enough to help the beleaguered offense get back on track.

"It seemed like a different offense than it was a few days ago," Woods said.

The first week of spring had been dominated by the defense, notably the banged-up defensive line that still managed to create penetration against the run and pass.

As the young offensive line, relying on two junior college transfers at the moment, settles down, quarterback Matt Barkley has found more opportunities to make plays.

"It's definitely gotten better," Barkley said. "You could see it today, I had a lot more time and a lot more protection. They just needed experience.

"That's all part of this process, and it's a challenge for me as well to get them on the same page, show my understanding of the pass protections and help them out."

Hot Reads
-Kiffin said he had not spoken with receiver Brice Butler, not did he plan to in the near future.

"I worry about the players that want to be here, the guys who are out here on the field," Kiffin said.

Butler said Wednesday he was looking at transferring to Delaware or Tennessee-Chattanooga, but there was a slim chance he could rejoin the team.

-Running back D.J. Morgan suffered an apparent shoulder injury towards the end of practice.

-Footing continues to be an issue, as players deal with morning dew on a new field. Quarterback Jesse Scroggins stumbled during 7-on-7s, while receivers had trouble with comeback routes and sharp cuts.

-Kiffin said the team will scrimmage Saturday, but has too much to improve on to dedicate the whole session to it.

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