Practice Report: Healthy Galippo makes plays

Linebacker Chris Galippo showed improved range of motion in injured right shoulder Sunday.

LOS ANGELES – Chris Galippo extended his right arm and knocked down the screen pass intended for running back Curtis McNeal.

In the course of a normal USC practice, it might not seem like much. Sunday, however, it showed that the redshirt senior linebacker is, if not fully recovered from a sprained AC joint, healthy enough to be available for the season opener against Minnesota.

By his own admission, it was a play Galippo could not have made last week.

"It's an injury that you can run around and look like you're healthy, but as soon as you try to get that hand up over your head or do something like that, you get all sorts of muscle spasms and stuff like that," Galippo said.

The challenge now is to get comfortable with tackling. Galippo was limited or held out of the more-taxing parts of practice, such as 9-on-7, to keep him from reaggravating the injury.

"It's really just a matter of taking this week, getting the contact side of it down. Just get used to the hitting tempo," he said.

Galippo will need to be ready to tackle as the Golden Gophers have installed a spread offense under new coach Jerry Kill, using former wide receiver MarQueis Gray at quarterback to test the Trojans as a runner and passer.

Even if Galippo avoids any setbacks this week, freshman Lamar Dawson is expected to see extensive playing time.

Developing increased depth on defense has been a major focus for coaches to avoid the late-game fatigue that gutted USC against Washington, Stanford and Notre Dame.

"Going back, we don't want to happen what happened last season. Watch those things: We're gassed. We're dead. We can't let that happen again," USC head coach Lane Kiffin said.

Said Galippo: "Obviously the difference between playing 40 plays and playing 75 plays when it's the fourth quarter in a two-minute situation, it's huge."

Uncertainty Continues At Left Guard
USC has found a right guard in John Martinez.

Left guard? Well, that's a whole different story.

"We keep trying to give it away, and nobody takes it," Kiffin said.

Junior college transfer Jeremy Galten was given his chance Sunday, joining freshman Marcus Martin and redshirt senior Martin Coleman on the merry-go-round since redshirt junior Abe Markowitz injured his left foot last Wednesday.

As for Martinez, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound redshirt sophomore moved into the starting lineup because of newfound consistency.

"John's doing well. Hopefully he can continue to improve there and play really well next Saturday," Kiffin said.

With Markowitz injured, Martinez has also been working as the backup to center Khaled Holmes.

Captains Named
Junior quarterback Matt Barkley, redshirt senior tight end Rhett Ellison, junior safety T.J. McDonald and redshirt senior defensive tackle Christian Tupou will serve as team captains this season.

"I kind of saw it coming, but it is an honor nonetheless," said Barkley, who was voted by teammates as a captain for the second consecutive season. "I am proud to lead these guys into battle. I know I have their respect and they know I am playing for them and not for me."

More Tests for Armstead
Senior defensive tackle Armond Armstead is set to undergo more tests this week in hopes of clearing him for full contact.

Armstead was hospitalized in March with an undisclosed medical condition, held out of spring practice and has been limited to conditioning drills this fall.

"In preparation for the tests, they don't allow him to do any physical activity the week leading up to out," Kiffin said.

If cleared, Armstead could see the field this week against Minnesota.

"He wouldn't be able to start for us and play 70 plays, but he could play in a limited role," Kiffin said.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Armstead started 12 games last season and had 43 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.

Day Off Saturday
Kiffin surprised the Trojans with a well-deserved day off Saturday, letting players swim and eat Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles.

The ruse involved a special teams walkthrough, but after punter Kyle Negrete put several balls into the adjacent McDonald's Swim Stadium, Kiffin feigned anger and sent players off Howard Jones Field into the pool.

Barkley viewed it as a nice divider between the end of fall camp and start of the season.

"We got to jump in the pool and have a nice little break from reality, just get away from football," Barkley said. "Today we treat like game week. We're already in it."

Quick Hits
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