It's a special deal at USC to wear a jersey with a single digit number. USC head coach Lane Kiffin said Wednesday that safety Josh Shaw has earned it.
"There's no exact science to the single digit numbers," Kiffin explained. "It's a big deal around here, kids ask for them all the time."
The redshirt junior his second season with the Trojans since transferring from Florida has been wearing No. 26. He asked during spring ball if No. 6 was an option.
Kiffin recently decided it is.
"Seeing how he had approached this offseason and this new defense, really the leader back there and the way he's taken young kids under his wing, just thought it was a good thing," Kiffin said.
"He didn't even really know. I just thought of it the other day and just changed it in his locker, so I know he was pretty excited."
Shaw transferred to USC in the spring of 2012 after being granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA. Shaw requested the waiver in order to be closer to his ailing father and grandfather and to help with the family business.
"He's one of our neatest kids that we have," Kiffin said. "We have a lot of kids with good stories around them about how hard they work and what they do in the summers. He's one of those really good stories and a really good kid."
Catching up at corner
Trojan coaches, players and fans could only watch during Thursday's season opener at Hawaii when both starting cornerbacks Anthony Brown and Kevon Seymour went down in the first half with undisclosed injuries.
Neither player returned to the game, standing on the sideline during the second half wearing sweats.
Seymour has dressed for the Trojans' practices this week. Brown has not, as he continues to wear a brace on his left leg.
Though USC coaches will not confirm, speculation is growing that Shaw could be making the move back to corner against Washington State on Saturday in Brown's absence.
Shaw moved to cornerback midway through the Trojans 2012 season to fill an apparent gap in the Trojans' defense.
But in Breslin's absence, redshirt freshman Jabari Ruffin was able to step up.
Ruffin collected three tackles in the Trojans 30-13 win at Hawaii.
"Us holding Morgan out in that game gave Jabari a great opportunity," Kiffin said. "He seized it and played really well."
Based off comments from Kiffin and teammates, it wouldn't be surprising to see Ruffin inserted more during defensive rotations, even when Breslin returns.
The Trojans secondary is ramping up their efforts during practice to prepare for the Cougars high flying offense.
"[Mike Leach is] going to throw it a lot," Kiffin said. "I'm sure he's going to look at last week. We played the run really well but left a lot of things open in the passing game. Fortunately our rush was strong enough to get there, so I would expect him to throw the ball 75-80 times on Saturday night."
Freshman Su'a Cravens said the defense has been running wild at practice as the scout team runs through a no huddle offense to squeeze in as many plays in as possible.