Monday Practice Report

Running back Marc Tyler worked extensively with the first-team offense Monday, setting the stage for a likely start in the season opener at Hawaii.

Moving Day
It must be the shoes.

After seeing his college career limited to just 41 carries because of injuries, USC running back Marc Tyler, sporting new cleats, worked extensively with the first-team offense Monday, setting the stage for a likely start in the season opener at Hawaii.

Tyler wasn't the only one making a move, as linebacker Devon Kennard and wide receiver Robert Woods also saw increased reps, indicating frontrunner status for vacancies at middle linebacker and split end respectively.

"We have made some moves towards (identifying starters) by the way that our reps go at practice," coach Lane Kiffin said. "But we have not released a depth chart or finalized anything. We have in some certain areas moved around some reps."

With a formal depth chart expected this weekend, the biggest surprise of fall camp, as Kiffin labeled Tyler, is now likely to be listed ahead of senior Allen Bradford, who was clearly limited by a bruised left knee in his return to practice.

Finally healthy and slimmed down to 218 pounds, nearly the same weight he played at as a senior at Westlake Village Oaks Christian, the redshirt junior has proven adept in all facets of the game including pass protection and short yardage.

Most importantly, his confidence is back, which Tyler credits to new offensive coordinator Kennedy Pola.

"I just feel like I got that juice back, that step back, that confidence back," Tyler said. "Over the years, I lost that confidence. Just being on the scout team in that black jersey, I never really had to deal with that (in high school). I think I lost a lot of confidence but Coach Pola, he's a great coach. I just really clicked with him as soon as he got here."

While Tyler was clearly thrilled with the developments, Bradford, the projected starter coming out of the spring, was more concerned with getting healthy.

"There was a little soreness, but it felt good," he said. "I wasn't trying to run like full speed or make any sudden cuts. I was just trying to be real cautious on it. I think by the end of the week I'll be fine.

"Marc's the next guy up, so I'm just fighting, trying to get back and make sure my knee's right by Sept. 2."

Conflicting Information
To hear Kiffin tell it, the career of redshirt sophomore guard Khaled Holmes could be in jeopardy because of a neck injury.

To hear Holmes and offensive line coach James Cregg tell it, perhaps the standout performer on the line should be ready for next Thursday.

Holmes, who left practice last week with a stinger, underwent an MRI on Monday and the results were encouraging.

"MRI was very encouraging," Holmes said. "Basically I have a pinched nerve. It's rehab and rest right now. Doctor Watkins is on top of it and it should be a day-by-day type thing."

Kiffin was more cautious, even comparing it to the injury that linebacker Jarvis Jones suffered last season. USC doctors would not clear Jones, leading to his transfer to Georgia in June.

"It could be a long-term thing, unfortunately. We've got to be very careful with that," Kiffin said.

Quick Hits
-OL Butch Lewis (groin) participated in individual drills and 9-on-7s, reporting no setbacks in his return to practice.

-WR David Ausberry (leg) and Brandon Carswell (thigh) returned to practice, while Kyle Prater (groin) saw increased action.

-Former Miami wide receiver Thearon Collier participated in his first practice since joining USC, working with the scout team.

-There was an influx of players arriving late and leaving Howard Jones Field early because of the start of the fall semester. Quarterback Matt Barkley missed the last hour of practice, but that won't be an issue once the regular season begins. Excluding next week, the Trojans will practice on Sunday afternoon and have Mondays off.


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