So what happened, Antwaun Woods, you tripled your tackles for loss total for the first eight games in Game 9 against Arizona? And doubled your sacks . . . in one game. How does that happen?
"It's November," the senior nose tackle said after Tuesday's practice. "How do you want to be remembered?"
That Arizona game gives you a hint.
"I finally got a shot," Antwaun said of his chance to make plays. "I was in the right place. And I was prepared. I was in the film room. On that last TFL (tackle for loss), I knew exactly where the play was going. I was really prepared."
"That's senior leadership and it's so neat to see," Clay Helton said, talking about how much improvement comes when an Antwaun Woods has to go against a Damien Mama every day.
"The whole defensive line is doing a great job," Helton said, "with 13 sacks in the last four games."
JuJu just improvising
He'll start catching the ball this week on Wednesday, which puts Juju Smith-Schuster a couple of days ahead of where he was last week. And the pain in his hand is "not as bad," JuJu said. "I'm not taking any pain meds . . . and right now, it's not hurting."
Asked if he got a pain shot in that hand last week, JuJu wasn't answering: "That's up to the coaches," he said, to give out that information. What he did say was how he worked around the pain in his hand by catching the ball with his body and with his left hand.
For those wondering why JuJu got the game's first pass against Arizona, Helton said that was the plan: To find out where he was right away. When JuJu grabbed it with one hand, his left, Helton said they knew juJu was going to be all right. He was going to find a way.
Cameron coming around
He sounds like a head coach. "The weather reports have it like Notre Dame," Cameron Smith said, pooh-poohing the reports that Boulder will be too cold for the guys from Southern California. And the freshman middle linebacker is exactly correct.
Then he talked about playing another uptempo offense in Colorado and how he'd noticed how the Buffs went so fast against UCLA, at times, the Bruin defensive linemen didn't have time to get their hands on the ground before the ball was snapped.
And finally, he talked about how good his injured right shoulder felt, how the MRI made it clear he was good to go, how the protective strap device that will keep his right arm from raising too far over his shoulder was working perfectly and how he felt great and the injury from Saturday was no big deal.
Actually, it was a re-injury, he said, a re-injury of an innertubing accident he had in the eighth grade. "Not my best day," he said with the shake of his head. But all he did, really, was "aggravate the muscles around the injury," He said, "and now it feels good."
"He's going to go," Clay said. It's not even a question.
TUESDAY QUICK HITS: Another shorts, shoulder pads and helmets practice Tuesday for what would normally be the Wednesday practice for a Saturday game but moved up a day for a Friday game (6 p.m., ESPN) . . . Claude Pelon had another strong day before heading to the trainer's table at the end of practice and then was carted off . . . no report yet on his injury . . . also at the end of practice, center Khaliel Rodgers went down with what appeared, some players siad, to be an injury to his right snapping wrist although Clay thought it was a chronic shoulder re-injury . . . Clay said he was hopeful Khaliel would be ready to go Friday . . . but just in case, he said they're getting two centers ready as backups -- Nico Falah and Viane Talamaivao . . . Defensive backs Leon McQuay and Jonathan Lockett both back for team work with Lockett certain to be ready to go Friday and McQuay having a good chance . . . Tre Madden will have a sitdown with Clay Wednesday to determine where exactly Tre's knee is and how he can help USC in third-and-short and goal line, in pass protection and as a pass receiver . . . but he has to get himself healthy, Clay says, so he can be on the field at the end of games as he was at Cal . . . WR's Darreus Rogers and Steven Mitchell looking like they're all the way back now -- certainly practicing as if they are.CHECK THIS OUT: For Tuesday's practice report, check out TUESDAY BUFFS WEEK GHOST NOTES.
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