When is a two-a-day not a two-a-day? The Trojans found out the answer as Tuesday's morning session was all but a glorified walk-through. Coach Lane Kiffin said he expects it to stay that way for the four remaining two-a-days scheduled during fall camp.
"What we're doing is very similar to one-a-days, except we're allowed to use a ball," said Kiffin, who cited a lack of available players for the change. "It just wouldn't be smart do to it the other way. It may make you feel better because you think we're getting tougher, but we've got to have enough bodies to play. So we're going to go with this format and make the most of it."
Transfers and other attrition have left USC with just 70 scholarship players.
The NFL-style session was heavy on special teams and light on hitting, a far change from the aggressive practices that were a trademark of former coach Pete Carroll.
"We're going full speed, but not as much contact," said offensive tackle Matt Kalil, who returned to action Tuesday after missing the first week of camp with a hamstring injury. "It's more like getting our assignments down."
"Like Coach Kiffin always says, he's trying to run it like an NFL team. Be professional about it. Just taking care of a lot of players, keeping us healthy. I like that."
That approach paid dividends in the evening, as the Trojans held their best and most spirited practice to date.
"It creates more energy under the lights," Kiffin said of the format. "The defense really came out with a lot of energy, especially the defensive front seven. You could see it and feel it down there."
Kalil, Michael Reardon and Zack Heberer are now sporting Mohawks, courtesy of fellow lineman and barber Butch Lewis.
"Something we all decided to do, sort of a camp thing," Kalil said. "I was just kind of looking in the mirror, told him to give me a Mohawk."
Fans will get to see the new look all season long – "Especially when I'm on the big Jumbotron," Kalil joked – as the haircuts came ahead of the team's annual Picture Day.
-Offensive lineman Butch Lewis underwent an MRI on his hip but results were not yet known.
-Safety Drew McAllister is expected to undergo an MRI after experiencing soreness in his hip.
"I'm just kind of taking it easy right now," said McAllister, who underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his hip in March. "It's frustrating. I was ready to go in those first couple practices."
-Defensive back Dion Bailey (concussion) and wide receivers Brandon Carswell and De'Von Flournoy missed practice. Tight end Blake Ayles and fullback Stanley Havili returned to action.
-Freshman wide receiver Robert Woods made two impressive diving catches, including a touchdown from Matt Barkley in 7-on-7s.
"He's been really pleasant to be around," Kiffin said. "Every time you go in the dining hall or there's a break somewhere, you always see him studying him. I compared him to Steve Smith on the field the other day, off the field he's like Keary Colbert in the way he is preparing."
-Freshman running back Dillon Baxter and wide receiver Markeith Ambles were late to an unspecified team function and did conditioning work instead of practice, with Baxter held out the whole day.
"There was some important stuff put in there for him today and he lost out on it, so I'm hoping he learned his lesson," Kiffin said. "For four hours and 15 minutes has been rolling and doing all those exercises today and lost out on all those reps."