Tuesday Practice Report

Tuesday saw Dillon Baxter as triggerman, James Boyd in a yellow top and Devon Flournoy and T.J. Bryant without No. 1 on their chest.

Change in the air

It was a day for experimentation: at quarterback, in the offense itself and even with jersey numbers.

Tuesday saw Dillon Baxter as triggerman, James Boyd in a yellow top and Devon Flournoy and T.J. Bryant without No. 1 on their chests.

Speculating after his first scrimmage the Wildcat could be deployed later in the spring, Baxter was as surprised as anyone to see it only days later.

"It came out faster than I thought too. It's cool. I mean, we still got to practice it more but it looked pretty good for the first time," he said.

Baxter lined up in the shotgun flanked by Curtis McNeal, first in 9-on-7s, then in the team period.

Dillon Baxter took snaps in the Wildcat formation.
Baxter even attempted two passes from the formation. One was batted down, another went to David Ausberry, but the biggest play came Baxter pulled the ball out and scurried to his right untouched while the defense went left chasing after McNeal.

Given his experience at Mission Bay High as a prolific quarterback, both as runner and passer, it didn't take long for Baxter to get into a rhythm.

"Before I committed here, I asked them if I could get a chance to do Wildcat or something else. I've been ready this whole time," he said.

"It's pretty much what I did in high school. Pretty much Wildcat every play."

Another well-versed high school quarterback, Boyd found himself getting back into the position after being moved from defensive end just yesterday. He becomes the third available quarterback currently on scholarship.

"I went back and watched his high school film, and he did some really good things at quarterback," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said. "Watching that, I just thought it would be something good to be able to put him in and see what he could do, especially this early in spring instead of waiting until the fall."

The former City Section star was clearly pleased with the move.

"I knew the opportunity was going to come, but just didn't know when," Boyd said. "I got it, so now it's time to run with it."

Aside from getting the playbook down and learning to work from under center, the biggest challenge for Boyd might be getting back down to a manageable weight. After playing at Los Angeles Jordan at 206 pounds, he is currently at 250.

"I look at it as an advantage because I'm strong and hard to take down," he said.

Further change saw Bryant sporting No. 38 and Flournoy 81, with Kiffin saying signature numbers like 1 and 55 have to be earned.

"After watching the scrimmage, I didn't think those guys were operating at the level that they should to be able to wear those jerseys. So they're going to have to earn them back," he said.

Even center Kris O'Dowd found himself caught up in the new, working on an altered shotgun snap during and after practice.

"Just a different snapping technique," he said. "I'm the one who makes it go. I got to move my head so the tackles see me, then I make the go call on the line, which starts the play. It's just on me."

Despite a handful of errant snaps early, the senior has it down now.

"It's a new type of shotgun that I'm not used to," O'Dowd said. "I got out there right as 9-on-7 started, so I really didn't have any chance to try it out. I wasn't expecting too many high snaps, but I had a couple, which is unacceptable. In the same sense, working on it after practice really helps, so I'm not really worried about it."

Hot Reads

-Linebacker Chris Galippo (back) was limited in practice.

"Chris had some back issues, which obviously has been an issue before with him. So we had to pull him, and we'll monitor him," Kiffin said.

-Tight ends Blake Ayles (concussion) and Ausberry (ankle) returned to full action. Offensive lineman Kevin Graf was held out with a stinger.

-Crenshaw running back DeAnthony Thomas attended practice.

-It might not rain often in Los Angeles, but associate head coach John Baxter had snappers and kickers preparing for the wet stuff by drenching them with water bottles during drills.

Coach Baxter added some new elements to the special teams drills on Tuesday.

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