Don't make it too big a deal, Su'a says

Even if the UCLA game is the biggest in his and his teammates careers, and maybe his final regular season game in college and at USC, Su'a Cravens says the last thing anyone should do is make too big a deal out of all this.

It really doesn't seem possible. Could Wednesday have been the last time that we're going to get to talk to Su'a Cravens on Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field after a regular season USC practice?


Can a career go by that fast? It seems like just yesterday when we were watching the do-everything sophomore at Vista Murrieta High and wondering where he'd go and where he'd play.

Now we know. He played wherever USC needed him. He made the difference time and again. He went from the rookie just trying to find his way -- and his voice -- to the veteran, a Lott Impact Trophy finalist, who very much knows where he can play and what to say.

His words this week, this most important week of his -- and his teammates' -- Trojans careers, were to the point about facing a UCLA team he has yet to beat.

"We have to be ourselves," Su'a said, unlike last week when he thought the Trojans made too big a deal of going to Autzen and facing Oregon. "Don't make it bigger than it is. That's what we did last week."

And that didn't work."Just don't make this too big a thing," he said again for emphasis.

But isn't this a really big deal? For Su'a, for his Trojans teammates, for the USC community, for Trojans everywhere?

"You win, you go to the Pac-12 championship," Su'a said. "You lose, you go to a bowl game . . . at this point in my career, it's just another ball game."

Su'a is sticking to his story here. He knows it's not just another ball game and when you say that to him, he has that twinkle in his eye that lets you know that he knows you know -- and so does he.

But he wants his guys to be grounded going in. He doesn't want a repeat of what happened the last two years against the Bruins when USC "went out in the first half and it was close and the second half, they came out with more fire."

Steady and strong this time, Su'a says. Follow me.

Chris Hawkins will, to a point. "I'm staying calm -- during the week," Hawkins said was his plan. "But when it's go time, you have to gear up and go."

Su'a knows. "He's my hero," Clay Helton says. And of course he's going to be playing at the next level. "That's a personal decision," Helton says. But not for this week.

"He's one of the few players in the country who can play safety, nickel and down in the box," Helton said, "a Kam Chancellor type . . . a natural."

WEDNESDAY QUICK HITS: Another shorts, shoulder pads and helmets practice Wednesday with a full complement of parents here . . . RG Viane Talamaivao and S Marvell Tell look like they're back and set for Saturday against UCLA . . . LB Osa Masina doubtful for the Bruins with his hamstring in pads but taking it very easy on his strained hamstring . . . S Leon McQuay also not looking like he's going to be back with the PCL tear as it's now diagnosed a four- to eight-week rehab . . . Alex Wood is still going through his concussion protocol from his injury in the Colorado game and looks like a big of a longshot for Saturday with lefty Matt Boermeester stepping in for a second straight game as the placekicker. . . seeing more of Nico Falah working with the first team now as Helton revealed that center Khaliel Rodgers has "both shoulders subluxed and they can pop out at any time" . . . tremendous effort by Rodgers, Helton says of the third-team center going No. 1 now . . . Toa Lobendahn walked into practice at the end today and was moving pretty well on his surgically repaired knee . . . Tee Martin was nominated Wednesday for the Frank Broyles Award given to the nation's top assistant coach with a big endorsement from Helton.

CHECK THIS OUT: For Wednesday's practice report, check out WEDNESDAY BRUINS WEEK GHOST NOTES.

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