Practice Report: Armstead to redshirt

Armstead will have option to return to USC next season, transfer or declare for NFL draft.

LOS ANGELES – Defensive tackle Armond Armstead will redshirt this season, USC head coach Lane Kiffin said Tuesday.

"After meeting with everybody involved, everyone has come to the same conclusion," Kiffin said. "The best thing is to redshirt him right now being this late in the season and having missed so much practice time and so much game time. That's the best thing for his future."

Armstead, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound senior from Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, has not participated fully since he was hospitalized in March with chest pains. Kiffin declined to say if doctors have cleared Armstead.

"I'm not really going to go into that. That's family business," Kiffin said.

In three seasons alternating between end and tackle, Armstead has made 17 career starts amassing 59 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. However, the Trojans have been able to play well in his absence by using a three-man rotation at both tackle and end this season.

"I think nobody played over 43 or 44 plays in the game (against Syracuse), which is why we were able to play at such a high level and that's how we need it to be as we move forward, to have enough depth to be able to continue to do that," Kiffin said.

Armstead is on track to graduate this semester and would have several options going forward. He could return to play for USC next season, where he would play alongside his younger brother, Arik, Scout's top-ranked recruit in the Class of 2012 and a verbal commitment to the Trojans, transfer to another school or declare for the NFL draft.

With redshirt senior defensive tackles Christian Tupou and DaJohn Harris set to depart and redshirt junior defensive end Nick Perry a likely candidate for early entry into the NFL, Armsead's return would be a stabilizing force for a retooled USC defensive line.

"I hope he is back," Kiffin said. "We lose a lot of guys and it would be great to have him back to help our front."

All About Composure
There was a noticeable energy to the service period, with the scout team trying to draw retaliation from the starting offense and defense after the play as preparation for Arizona State.

The Sun Devils, most notably star linebacker Vontaze Burfict, are notorious for playing well after the whistle. Last year, Burfict was flagged for a very late hit on a USC receiver, extending the drive that ended in kicker Joe Houston's game-winning field goal.

"We did that last year in preparation for Hawaii," Kiffin said. "We just want to make sure we do a great job with our composure and not get into a personal foul type of game regardless of what the opponent is doing. We're just trying to practice exactly how it happens in games."

Kiffin said the Trojans have fared well for the most part this season in controlling their emotions. He also pointed out that left tackle Matt Kalil could have had another against Syracuse, but only the Orange defender was penalized for responding.

"In football it happens all the time, the second guy a lot of times is the guy who gets caught," Kiffin said. "We got to learn from those. We got to stay composed.

"When our emotions go up, we can't let our decision making go down."

Early Returns Positive for Martin
Freshman offensive guard Marcus Martin played well in his first career start, Kiffin said.

"Marcus as you would expect did some good things, made some rookie mistakes and we just got to keep plugging away in there with him," Kiffin said. "He has got a lot of potential and did some really good things. We're excited about him."

Kiffin declined to say if Martin would start this week at Arizona State.

Quick Hits
Linebackers Lamar Dawson (ankle) and Marquis Simmons (neck) and wide receiver Kyle Prater (undisclosed) and Harris (undisclosed) did not practice, while offensive lineman Abe Markowitz (foot) was limited.

Wide receiver Brice Butler left practice early with an undisclosed injury.


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