Practice Report: Martin values hard work

Down to 324 pounds, freshman Marcus Martin is looking forward to the chance to debut in front of friends and family Saturday.

LOS ANGELES – USC freshman offensive guard Marcus Martin doesn't set goals.

"I just work hard and whatever comes with hard work comes with it," he said.

That approach could put Martin in the starting lineup Saturday against Syracuse. While USC head coach Lane Kiffin declined to name a starter at left guard after practice Thursday, Martin worked with the first unit for the third consecutive day.

Martin, regarded as an obvious candidate to redshirt just a few weeks ago at the end of fall camp, has looked sharp all week as the Trojans look to replace redshirt senior Martin Coleman, who injured his left shoulder after only a few plays against Utah.

Junior college transfer Jeremy Galten, who started against Minnesota, replaced Coleman but has worked primarily at tackle with the second unit. The other candidate is redshirt junior Abe Markowitz, who returned from a left foot injury Wednesday.

Kiffin said he would like to play "a couple guys and see how it works."

That approach is fine with Martin.

"It's Coach Kiffin's decision," he said. "I'm just preparing that I might start, might have the possibility to start."

A product of nearby Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, only three miles away, Martin has progressed dramatically since arriving on campus.

"I've adjusted to the system," he said. "Everything is starting to make sense to me on the football field."

The biggest difference is his weight, losing 28 pounds.

Now down to 324 pounds, Martin hopes to ultimately play at between 290 and 300. He credited the help of coaches and strength and conditioning staff with the weight loss.

"I've given up a lot just to be a better player and I'm willing to do that because as long as I'm improving I have no problem with giving up things," he said.

And while transitioning from right guard to left has been a challenge, Martin would benefit from right next to left tackle Matt Kalil and center Khaled Holmes, the two veterans on the offensive line.

Martin regards them as having a "big influence" on his development.

"They actually have been staying after practice with me, watching the film, teaching me different types of techniques," Martin said. "You know, just showing me the bigger picture, not just knowing my assignment but knowing everybody's assignments.

And while he expects to find out Friday if he will start, Martin is excited by the possibility to debut in front of friends and family.

"The Crenshaw area comes out to support me," he said. "Everybody who knows about me whether I'm playing or not is just out there being very supportive of me."

Quiet By His Standards
Sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods caught eight passes for 102 yards against Utah and was barely mentioned in the postmortem.

That's just what coaches and fans have come to expect from Woods, who had 17 grabs in the season opener. His 12.5 receptions per game rank second in the nation behind Ryan Broyles at Oklahoma, who had 14 in his first game.

"I thought Robert played really well in the game," Kiffin said. "He's doing really well and does kind of get lost in there after setting the school record in week one. But if a guy can catch eight passes for over 100 yards every week, we'll take it."

Quick Hits
-Kiffin said he expected to meet with defensive tackle Armond Armstead (medical) and his family "some point before next week."

Armstead has yet to be fully cleared since being hospitalized in March.


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