Tony Tries Hand at Linebacker

Practice report after Tuesday (4/3) including notes on Torin Harris' injury, Tony Burnett's first day at linebacker, a trip to Haiti players will take in May and more.

As Tony Burnett left USC's famous Heritage Hall Monday afternoon, he began to consider the unique challenge presented to him.

After a few weeks of spring football, Burnett was moved from cornerback to safety. On Monday, he was asked to move from safety to linebacker.

Despite not playing a single snap of the position before, he didn't see the change as anything more than an opportunity. And instead of being overwhelmed, he said he's appreciative of the chance.

"It's an opportunity to play and make plays so I got to be grateful for that, for them to want to put me in that type of position. So I just want to go out there and contribute any way I can," Burnett said.

"Any way for the team to get the win."

Less than 24 hours after digesting the news, Burnett was in linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton's meeting room, working individually with him on concepts. He then joined the position group's meeting and attempted to put his crash studying together on the field moments later.

"[The move is] probably to my advantage because I started understanding the concepts of the defense, who is going to be where and why they're going to be there," Burnett said. "I just store the stuff I know in the back of my head and learn new stuff so when I go out there I can just react when I'm playing."

And react he did. Burnett flashed in his first go at linebacker, even working with the "ones" at times while Dion Bailey sat out of practice. Physical in the box and containing the run, Burnett didn't seem as though he'd only known the position for a few hours.

"I'm a pretty quick learner so they threw me in the fire and I was pretty good. Not perfect, and I want to be perfect but I was pretty good for the first day for ever playing of the position," he said.

Receivers Put On Clinic

With the help of former alum Patrick Turner and Damian Williams, it was a sight to see at Howard Jones Field Tuesday. The current NFL receivers upped the level of play among the core, as Marqise Lee, George Farmer, Victor Blackwell and De'Von Flournoy caught practically everything thrown to them.

In one instance in 11 on 11 play, Lee caught a 30-yard pass on a fade route thrown by Barkley. No. 7 appeared to be throwing it away but No. 9 sought the opportunity and made a diving catch that brought noise from onlookers.

After the practice, Turner commented on Lee.

"The sky is the limit for a kid like that, with those type of abilities and his talent. With coaching, he could do a lot of big things. He showed a lot of flashes last year. Him and Barkley should do big things. I know Coach Kiffin wants to use him along with Woods."

Williams said he was not as good as Lee at that age.

"I wasn't. Not at all."

"These days, I don't know what they're eating. They make them a little different," Turner joked.

Final Thoughts

Soma Vainuku, Khaled Holmes and Ryan Henderson all returned from injuries Tuesday.

Cornerback Torin Harris said the nerves have fully regrown in his right deltoid. He said the process now is to train his muscle again, fatigue it and get it game-ready. He expects to be fully healthy for fall camp and said it's been "frustrating" after sitting out most of the past two years.

In 2010 Harris had to have shoulder surgery and missed the Trojans' final three games. Last season he missed eight games after dealing with the same injury. He added that he was not worried about competing for a starting spot in the fall, and has full confidence in himself.

Safety Demetrius Wright was named the Most Valuable Player of the day. He and Jawanza Starling rotated with the "ones."

Fifteen Trojans will travel to Haiti for a week in May to build houses and deliver supplies. Matt Barkley is leading the trip, while T.J. McDonald, Robert Woods, Khaled Holmes, Nickell Robey, Devon Kennard and Hayes Pullard also plan to attend.

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