Wednesday Practice Report

The USC Trojans have had good success recruiting the state of Arizona lately, luring three five-star recruits in Kristofer O'Dowd, Everson Griffen and Devon Kennard. While all three players will be returning home this week, Saturday will be Kennard's first time playing in the Grand Canyon State since committing to the USC Trojans.

Homecoming for Kennard

The USC Trojans have had good success recruiting the state of Arizona lately, luring three five-star recruits in Kristofer O'Dowd, Everson Griffen and Devon Kennard.

While all three players will be returning home this week, Saturday will be Kennard's first time playing in the Grand Canyon State since committing to the USC Trojans.

"It's a great feeling to be able to go back and play at home," Kennard said. "Not many people get that kind of opportunity and to know that I am going to be able to play and contribute is really exciting."

The Desert Vista standout has made a remarkable recovery since tearing ligaments in his knee early in his senior season of high school and has become one of the Trojans' most productive freshmen.

"It's a great feeling knowing all the odds that I beat by coming off of my injury and contributing here at USC in my freshman year," he said.

Kennard has played in every game in 2009 and has recorded 12 tackles including 2 tackles for loss.

"It's going to be great to try and display that at home but I am more worried about the game and contributing to my team winning," he said.

The talented defensive end was recruited by several of the top programs in the country but said he never strongly considered the in-state Sun Devils.

"Not really," Kennard said. "I liked the d-line coach but besides that I kind of wanted to get out of the state and just try something different."

While the 6-foot-3 freshman is excited to play in front of friends and family this Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium, he says his focus will be on the game and helping the Trojans get back on track with a win over Arizona State.

"I am going to play in front of a bunch of people, and a bunch of guys that I have seen play so many times and I have played against myself," he said. "It's exciting but I am trying to just focus on the game and keep everything in perspective. I just have to go out there and worry about football first."

Hot Reads

- Everson Griffen, Zack Heberer, Anthony McCoy, Armond Armstead, Jarvis Jones, Nick Perry and Drew McAllister were among the players that didn't participate in Wednesday's practice.

- Tailbacks Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford both returned to practice and are expected to play, as is wide receiver Damian Williams.

- All indications are that the Trojans will be without senior tight end Anthony McCoy for another Pac-10 matchup. McCoy was unable to run during Wednesday's practice and Carroll wasn't very optimistic about his return.

"He's still real sore. He's not able to run," Carroll said. "It's going to be really hard. I can't imagine he's going to bounce back in the next couple days."

- Carroll said after practice that freshman linebacker Jarvis Jones, who suffered a sprained neck against Oregon, will not play this Saturday.

- Linebacker Malcolm Smith, who was ruled out of Saturday's game against Arizona State with a sprained shoulder after meeting with team doctors, actually took part in some non-contact drills but is still doubtful to play.

- Offensive lineman Zack Heberer missed practice with a sore back and his status for Saturday is uncertain. Heberer said he is going to get an MRI on Friday.

- As the calendar switches to November, Pete Carroll has always dialed back the amount of hitting in practices and today the Trojans were in half-pads for practice.

"It's November," Carroll said. "We've been doing this for years."

- With Stanley Havili sidelined the past two weeks, D.J. Shoemate filled in at fullback and while not receiving any carries or receptions, Jeremy Bates said he was a big factor with his run blocking.

"Last week D.J. had a lot of assignments in the blocking game. We were running right behind him all game. He's played extremely well the last two weeks," Bates said. "Two weeks in a row, he's been a solid fullback. The No. 1 objective of the fullback is to block. The passes will happen. The runs will happen. We're looking for our fullbacks to look up their linebackers and hit them in the mouth, and D.J.'s done that two weeks in a row."


USC tailback Joe McKnight returned to practice on Wednesday.


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



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