Thursday Practice: Help is on the way

The USC Trojans received plenty of good news this week with the signing of a star-studded group of early enrollees and the arrival of wide receiver Darreus Rogers. Look inside for all the news, notes and quotes from Thursday's practice...

On Wednesday, reports surfaced that a star-studded group of USC recruits that included Max Browne, Su'a Cravens, Justin Davis, Chris Hawkins and Kylie Fitts all signed their paperwork to enroll early and start classes in January.

And the news got even better for USC fans with wide receiver Darreus Rogers taking part in his first practice as a Trojan on Thursday.

"Because school is officially over here with the finals as of yesterday, [Darreus] is allowed to start practicing now," Kiffin said. "He was already cleared through the school and through the NCAA. He has been cleared for a while so he can practice with us until we leave. He can't go down there [El Paso]."

Rogers, who originally signed with USC last February but didn't qualify, received a lot of individual attention from assistant coach Tee Martin early in practice and appeared to be in good shape.

"Obviously it is hard to come in and practice with guys that have been doing it for a long time but you can see that he is talented," Kiffin said.

Rogers was a four-star wide receiver coming out of Carson High School last year and should give the receiving corps a physical presence in the passing game.

"Rogers is a well put-together receiver, real powerful and does a great job of getting off against jams at the line of scrimmage," said Scout National Recruiting Analyst Brandon Huffman. "He has excellent body control, soft hands and very good speed, especially in the open field."

No more early mornings?

After going from the preseason No.1 team to settling for a berth in the Sun Bowl, USC's struggles in 2012 have been well documented and debated -- and the one thing that everyone seems to agree on -- is that change is needed.

The resignation of assistant coach Monte Kiffin, the legendary defensive coordinator that had difficulty dealing with up-tempo college offenses, signaled that changes were indeed in the works.

And another shift in philosophy could mean a move back to afternoon practices for the 2013 season, something that the players would surely welcome.

"There has been a lot of thought put into the afternoon practices like the previous format, so we will look into it after the season," Kiffin admitted this week. "I think it is just looking at the overall energy sometimes, those days are rough with the kids getting up 5 a.m.."

The later schedule during bowl prep has resulted in intense practices with more hitting, and the extended practice time that USC sorely missed while being on a two-year bowl ban, appears to be paying dividends.

"Our plan has been to have a few hard practices right now almost as if you were playing a game because of the long layoff," Kiffin said.

Another positive has been Lane Kiffin's willingness to delegate some of offensive responsibilities to his assistant coaches during practice, while he keeping an eye on the defense, something he rarely did during the regular season.

"We just have more time and more practices so I think it allows you as the head coach to look at everything and spend more time with the defense or special teams," Kiffin said.

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