Notebook: back to practice at USC

USC got back to practice after spring vacation on Tuesday at Howard-Jones Field. The quarterback battle is back to full-strength as Max Wittek rejoins the mix.

Wittek back to action in three man race
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Max Wittek returned to practice on Tuesday after being sidelined since March 9 with a knee injury suffered when holding for his kicker during practice drills in the Coliseum.

Kiffin said since sitting out two and a half weeks, Wittek did not look 100%. "He struggled a little bit, even in just one-on-ones," Kiffin said after practice. "But it is nothing that is long term."

True freshman and early enrollee Max Browne continued to impress during Tuesday's drills. He hit junior receiver George Farmer in-stride on a 50-plus yard passing play. "He continues to have really good deep ball accuracy," Kiffin said. "It's great."

Both Wittek and Cody Kessler threw interceptions on Tuesday. Wittek on a deep pass was picked off by freshman Chris Hawkins. Kessler was picked on a deep pass intended for junior George Farmer who bobbled the ball and had it taken by cornerback Torin Harris.

Musical chairs on the offensive line
After starting spring practices with sophomore Max Tuerk at center, Kiffin has decided to slide him back over to guard and have junior Marcus Martin make the snaps.

"We kind of experimented and Marcus looked really good in there," Kiffin explained. "We'll head that direction this week and see what it looks like. Nothing is settled right now in spring, but Marcus did really well in there."

I'm almost surprised by how comfortable he was in there and usually there is a transition process," Kiffin continued about Martin. "His was not very long and he looks like he's been doing it for a very long time."

Kiffin expects that more changes could happen on the offensive line, but notes that it is good experience to have multiple players able to play multiple positions on the line.

As for left tackle, Kiffin said Aundrey Walker's last six spring practices have certainly showed progress from his sophomore campaign, "We've seen some improvement in technique and confidence level as well," he said.

The head coach admits the staff has thought about moving Tuerk to left tackle, sliding Walker inside to guard, but says after seeing the progress Walker has shown that swapping those two is not a move they're ready to make.

Early enrollees shining
Freshman defensive back Su'a Cravens is taking first team reps at nickelback and second team reps at free safety. Freshman quarterback Max Browne his hitting receivers on 50-yard routes in stride. Freshman cornerback Chris Hawkins is grabbing interceptions.

Needless to say, Kiffin is getting as much production out of his seven early enrollees this spring as he could have possibly expected -- and then some.

"They've brought a lot to our roster, which is already a low number roster, so you bring seven guys like that and it's been really good," Kiffin said. "Every time you see that you think those guys should still be in high school and they're already here making plays.

I'd be shocked if there was a better midyear class enrolled somewhere having such a good spring practice."

No spring break missteps
The Trojans spent the last week taking a breather from football and enjoying spring vacation. Kiffin was happy to report Tuesday afternoon that his entire roster returned to the football field without problem.

"[No problems] that we know of, so far," he said. "We commend ed them today on that. That is always a concern, all around the country, spring break and mistakes being made so it looks like we were good."

The team went through 6 AM workouts Monday morning to ensure they were ready to get back to work and leave spring vacation behind.

Injury report
Trojans were dropping like flies before spring vacation. No new injuries occurred during Tuesday's practice, but there were a few names added to the list of players who are out for the remainder of spring drills -- including redshirt freshman offensive tackle Chad Wheeler and redshirt sophomore fullback Soma Vainuku.

Kiffin reported Xavier Grimble is still sidelined with a stress fracture in his rib.

Marqise Lee has not been cleared from the knee injury he suffered during practice on March 9, though Kiffin says he expects him back any day now.

Quick hits
Kiffin said linebacker Lamar Dawson was the MVP of the day, "He probably would be the most improved player through seven practices from last season," Kiffin said. "He is doing really well in the new system."…USC 2013 signees Nico Falah and Steven Mitchell were on the sideline watching practice.

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