The look on Lane Kiffin's face said it all. It wasn't a good day to say the least, as USC suspended one talented player for its opener and lost another to injury.
Freshman running back Dillon Baxter will not play in the Trojans' game at Hawaii for a violation of team rules, Kiffin announced Wednesday.
"I think this is an extremely strong message, a very severe punishment for a player that may potentially be our most skilled player on the whole roster to miss his first game," Kiffin said. "I'm hoping that message not only helps him but our team and especially our freshman class. This is our first class coming in, first class we've signed here at USC and I want to make sure they understand we have extremely high expectations for all of our players, even the young ones, on and off the field."
The Los Angeles Times first reported the suspension.
Baxter spent both practice sessions Tuesday rolling in the grass and doing other conditioning drills as punishment for an unspecified incident, which Kiffin referred to as "being late to something."
The early enrollee from Mission Bay High in San Diego electrified USC fans and observers with several highlight reel runs in the spring and is expected to see significant action this season as a rusher, receiver and return man.
Kiffin said Baxter will continue to practice, but would likely be moved to the scout team ahead of the season opener to help the defense prepare for the Warriors. It is not yet known if Baxter will make the trip to Honolulu.
"This is adversity right now for him and he can deal with it two ways," Kiffin said. "He can sit around and pout and think he is being picked on, sit over there and we'll move on without him or he can take this and move on."
The Trojans could also be without defensive end Nick Perry for an extended period of time after the redshirt sophomore was injured during a boisterous goal line drill.
Trainers examined Perry's right knee after he hobbled off the field. Perry was later carted off Howard Jones Field.
Perry was named to several Freshman All-America teams last season after recording a team-high eight sacks last season.
If Perry is out, USC would be left with just two experienced ends in junior Armond Armstead and redshirt sophomore Wes Horton.
"It would be a big loss," Kiffin said. "He's doing great, having a really good camp."
Running back Marc Tyler had been reduced to something of an afterthought because of injuries and a logjam of players in front of him. But put the former Oaks Christian standout in short yardage and goal line drills, he makes an impression.
Tyler did it again Wednesday, converting several times in both scenarios.
"He did good again," Kiffin said. "If someone said right now, ‘who's the surprise of camp,' from a production level prior to this camp, I would say Marc would be the guy. He's really done a good job in a bunch of different things for us."
Defensively, the highlight to the high-energy drill was linebacker Malcolm Smith, who stood up and stripped running back Allen Bradford.
-LB Hayes Pullard (knee), WR Robert Woods (knee) and LB/FB Simione Vehikite (neck) left practice early.
-OL Butch Lewis, DB Drew McAllister and Dion Bailey, RB D.J. Morgan and WR Brandon Carswell and De'Von Flournoy did not practice.
-OT Martin Coleman (concussion) returned to practice.
-OG Zack Heberer is the last of the Mohawks, as OL Matt Kalil and Michael Reardon shaved their heads.
Mark Tyler has been the surprise of fall camp.
*Discuss more on the SCPlaybook.com message boards