Trojans, with JuJu, back at it

After two days off, USC gets back into game week mode preparing for Washington's Huskies who will be in here Thursday at the Coliseum.

Getting time to recruit and a couple of days away for his players was a good deal, Steve Sarkisian said Saturday, even if it "typically" throws off the offensive timing just a bit -- which it did.

With no players available after practice, Sark talked about injured players, his old Washington team and about getting to watch football on TV on a Saturday including getting up and turning on ESPN's GameDay and following all the action.

"I'm in this profession as much because I'm a college football fan," Sark said. Saturday he could be.

"I'm not scouting those games," he said, just following "a lot of subplots in college football." And doing so on a day when the plot for teams like Ole Miss and Georgia and UCLA and Texas would thicken.

With his old Washington team headed to LA this week, Sark said he "doesn't follow them like he used to" but when he sees the UW film, he "sees guys we recruited."

And that gets him to recalling the "great memories" of his five years in Seattle, something he "feels good about . . . I was a young coach when I got there at 34 years old . . . it was challenging . . . we went through a stadium renovation" and took a team with a GPA in the dumper to a 2.8.

This Washington team he said, "is playing aggressive on defense" and with strong inside linebacker play and people "playing well off the edge . . . they don't let you get the ball out there on the edge."

He said USC must do three things: Come up with a good gameplan, execute it and, "most importantly, do it with physicality."

But is there any extra motivation this week? An easy answer for Sark: "No," he says. "I want to play well every week. I want it for our players. I want to get to 2-1 in the conference."

And Washington is in the way of that.

JuJu back, 'issues' behind him

Juju Smith-Schuster was back for Saturday's full-pads afternoon practice after missing Tuesday and Wednesday for "personal reasons" and the NCAA's No. 3/4/6 receiver in TD catches, total receiving yards and yards per game last week was back to start Washington game week prep work.

Sark said it "was great to have JuJu back with us" and that he'd "resolved the personal stuff." The sophomore did assume his role with the first team and as the No. 1 man in all the wide receiver position drills. He didn't look like he'd missed anything.


Saturday afternoon's workout will be an extra fourth game-week practice day for Washington leading up to Thursday's 6 p.m. game (ESPN) at the Coliseum against the Huskies . . . CB Kevon Seymour did more work, played in all the team stuff and did get some pass breakups although his knee still looked a little stiff and did seem to get tweaked again . . . NT Antwaun Woods was back and looked like he can go . . . WR Darreus Rogers did some running on his hamstring injury but Sark said he was "severely limited" and a conclusion would be that he's probably not going to be ready this week . . . Sark said they have lots of options there with Isaac Whitney, Dominic Davis and De'Quan Hampton but the player most likely to step in as a starter from the way he's been practicing is former quarterback Jalen Greene . . . With Khaliel Rodgers out for "personal reasons," Toa Lobendahn got another day to work at center with the second group while Viane Talamaivao was at right guard with the ones. Look for Toa to move back in there Sunday when Rodgers gets back, Sark said. Not a demotion for Toa . . . Jacob Daniel spent much of practice rehabbing a hamstring . . . Trojans return Sunday at 11:15 a.m. CHECK THIS OUT: For more details on Saturday's workout, check out SATURDAY UW WEEK GHOST NOTES.

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