With the bye week coming so early in the season, Coach Carroll used the opportunity to thrust several freshmen and back-ups in with the first-team to evaluate the younger player's progress.
"We played the backup linebackers a lot because of our lack of depth there," Carroll said. "We got to rest Rey (Maualuga) and Brian Cushing. Those guys have played every snap all the way through camp, so they got a little break."
Safety Drew McAllister was one of the freshmen that worked with the first-team defense and had a very successful week, making a handful of big plays.
Cornerback's T.J. Bryant and Brian Baucham also received praise from Coach Carroll for their performances this week, but the player that did the most to elevate his stock had to be offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
Smith is a tremendously athletic offensive lineman that worked alongside Jeff Byers all week in an effort to help him pick up the scheme and improve his communications along the line.
"He's looking like he can go out there and play with those guys now," Carroll said of the talented freshman. "He's not ready to start but he is certainly ready to move up and get more playing time.
"That just makes us stronger."
Carroll was pleased with the play of the younger players and said that overall the bye week was a success for the team.
"Nothing dramatic turned for anybody but we got guys closer to playing"
On the Recruiting Trail
Pete Carroll and the USC coaching staff have the weekend off, right? Well, not exactly. Coach Carroll and his staff will hit the recruiting trail hard this weekend catching as many high school games as they can watch.
"Guys are mostly around Southern California, there a couple of guys that are taking trips," said Carroll when asked where the coaches will be recruiting this weekend.
Carroll plans to attend three high school games on Friday night and said one of his assistant coaches will be in Arizona.
"I love this. This is all you can do with a bye," said Carroll when asked about scouting high school players. "We have to use these days wisely and get out and around."
The Trojans have gotten off to a fast start in recruiting and already have 15 commits in the 2009 class.