Thursday Practice: Finish Strong

Finish Strong. That is the mantra the USC players hear everyday as they compete in the weight room and on the practice field. Heading into the final stretch of the season, or fourth quarter, as the coaches and players refer to it as, the Trojans are once again looking to finish strong.

Finish Strong

Finish Strong. That is the mantra the USC players hear everyday as they compete in the weight room and on the practice field.

"That's what we preach from day one, it's all about finishing," Clay Matthews said.

Heading into the final stretch of the season, or fourth quarter, as the coaches and players refer to it as, the Trojans are once again looking to finish strong.

"We are the best at finishing. Coach Carroll emphasizes finishing, and Coach Carlisle emphasizes finishing," defensive end Kyle Moore said. "We finish in the weight room and we finish out here on the field. It doesn't matter what it is, we are the best at finishing.

"We are a locomotive, they just keep feeding us coal, and we just keep on running."

The Trojans have yet to go off track in November under Pete Carroll, who has a perfect 25-0 record in the month.

When asked about the key to USC's late season success, defensive coordinator Nick Holt says there is no secret formula or mystery.

"I think it's because we play a lot of guys, which creates depth early in the year and so we are a strong team in November," Holt said.

Holt also credits USC's intense practices for keeping the team sharp through the end of the season.

"Also I think it has to do with our practice habits, our guys continue to get better throughout the year with the way our practices are structured.

"In November, every game gets bigger and bigger and bigger but we still approach them all the same.

"We keep practice as intense, but we don't practice as long. We cut down the time but we never cut down the intensity. That way our guys stay fresh."

News and Notes

- D.J. Shoemate will not play on Saturday because of the shoulder injury that he suffered in practice on Tuesday.

- Coach Carroll was very pleased with the team's effort and focus this week on the practice field.

"They know that it is the last road trip and they want to do it really well and they performed like it," Carroll said. "They had a great week and we are ready to go after it."

- Blake Ayles (knee) returned to practice in a limited role on Thursday and said he plans to play against Stanford on Saturday.

- USC linebacker Rey Maualuga was named as one of fifteen players on the Walter Camp Award watch list. A list of five finalists will be announced on Tuesday, December 2.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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