Thursday Practice Report

On Tuesday, the USC secondary owned the field. On Thursday, Trojan quarterbacks and receivers enjoyed a measure of revenge, hitting on several deep balls opportunities. Look inside for all the news, notes and quotes from Thursday's practice.

Offense gets its say

On Tuesday, the USC secondary owned the field.

On Thursday, Trojan quarterbacks and receivers enjoyed a measure of revenge, hitting on several deep balls opportunities.

Mitch Mustain connected with Ronald Johnson for a long touchdown, then hit Travon Patterson on a post route for another score.

"We're starting to hit everything. Our deep threat right now looks pretty nice," Mustain said.

Mitch Mustain had an impressive performance on Thursday.
Matt Barkley responded by dropping a pass in perfectly over Robbie Boyer's shoulder on the sideline for a touchdown. The sophomore was also bailed out when Brice Butler made a sensational adjustment to grab an under-thrown ball with two defenders draped all over him.

"They took advantage of some coverages that gave us a chance to make big plays," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said. "Ronald continues to make big plays for us down the field and some other guys are coming through. I'm very pleased with that but we have got to get our completion percentage up."

After a season where vertical opportunities were few and far between, Mustain notices a change in playcalling but also points to better use of personnel.

"It's a matter of us executing," said Mustain, who also placed a ball between three defenders for a Jordan Cameron touchdown in red zone drills. "For the first time in a couple years, we have a couple solid big guys and that opens things up for RoJo and Travon. We can use them like they should."

Intensity and security

Kiffin was pleased with how the offense rebounded from its previous session, but remains troubled by constant turnovers.

"After really getting beat up in our last practice, I really challenged our offense to respond," he said. "I'm pleased with how the offense came out and were really physical. We're going to have to continue to stress ball security. There's too many balls on the ground, throwing too many balls up."

There was also a sequence where Johnson responded to a hard hit by Jawanza Starling with a shot of his own a few plays later, but Kiffin liked the intensity, albeit in small doses.

"I'd rather have to slow them down than speed them up. We want to practice smart, protect our team, but at the same time, it's good to see guys are physical and into it," he said.

Hot Reads

-Safety Marshall Jones is likely to miss the remainder of spring practices after reinjuring his neck.

"I don't think Marshall will be back for spring with his neck. It will be a process to get him back," Kiffin said.

As for linebacker Jarvis Jones, dealing with his own neck and spinal injury, the prognosis remains cloudy.

"Jarvis has not been cleared," Kiffin said. "We continue to get other opinions, but it doesn't look good for Jarvis. We're still holding out hope."

-With Matt Kalil sidelined by a hip injury, redshirt freshman Kevin Graf has taken most reps at left tackle and has performed well this week.

"Kevin has come in, struggled at first but has put together two pretty good practices," Kiffin said. "He's a guy that can play inside as well. He's doing good."

Kalil is expected back in the next few days.

-Blake Ayles suffered a concussion Tuesday and was held out of practice, leaving Jordan Cameron as the lone tight end available. The Trojans also were down to one healthy fullback in Stanley Havili.

-Oaks Christian receiver Jordan Payton, Serra receiver George Farmer, Lakewood defensive tackle Todd Barr and Long Beach Poly defensive end Corey Waller and tight end Earnest Pettway were among the recruits at Howard Jones Field.

-Former AFL commissioner David Baker, father of former USC offensive Sam Baker, attended practice.

-Kiffin on the limited offensive line numbers:

"There aren't many out there. You call for the twos, two guys run out, two guys run in and three have to stay. I'm pleased we don't hear them in there complaining. It's good for them, it's what real football is like."

-Freshman Kyle Prater had the play of the day, a one-handed grab of a low pass while falling in the end zone.

Freshman wide receiver Kyle Prater made a nice one-handed grab on Thursday.

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