Freshman wide receiver Robert Woods was promised a chance to work with the ones. He just didn't expect it could be at Aloha Stadium in front of a national television audience one week from Thursday.
That's the scenario ahead for Woods, who is on pace to start in his collegiate debut for USC in its season opener at Hawaii.
"It's great to know that I'm making plays for the team. To start is another thing (entirely)," Woods said.
Helping lead Gardena Serra to a state title last season, Woods flashed elusiveness and speed as he rolled up 1,112 yards and 15 touchdowns, traits also associated with starting flanker Ronald Johnson. Putting them on the field together could give the Trojans a new dimension not seen even during the heyday of Keary Colbert and Mike Williams or Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett.
"A lot of speed, a lot of speed and quickness," said Woods of a potential pairing with Johnson.
"If it happens, it would be a really explosive offense – deep balls, quick routes getting by people. It would be great to play next to him."
Even though USC coach Lane Kiffin has praised Woods for his dedication to mastering the playbook, he admits there are times when it is hard to keep everything straight.
"You got to get the old plays out of your head," Woods said. "There are high school plays you're still thinking of trying to relate them (to new plays), but you got to get rid of them."
The Dillon Factor
With freshman quarterback Jesse Scroggins and safety Demetrius Wright still awaiting clearance from the NCAA and no clear timetable for their return, USC's third quarterback spot remains in flux, so much so that Kiffin came up with a surprising candidate to fill that role.
"Dillon (Baxter)," Kiffin said. "We don't really have one. Jesse's not back yet and hasn't been cleared. He would have been.
"If we knew it in advance long enough, we would have to take a look at Dillon doing that."
Baxter played quarterback in high school at San Diego Mission Bay, but wouldn't be available if the unimaginable happens at Hawaii, as he is suspended for the season opener and will not travel with the team.
Kiffin admitted that not having the freshman running back in the lineup would change what the offense does.
"There is a Dillon factor that when he's not there or he's banged up, there is a difference," Kiffin said. "There are things he does that other guys can't exactly do. He is very unique."
As the Trojans have been forced to all but eliminate contact from practices, Kiffin admitted he isn't sure how the defense and running attack will respond.
"If there's anything we're not going to know, it will be how we're going to tackle and how are we going to run the ball," Kiffin said.
Against Hawaii, which ranked third in the FBS in passing offense last season, averaging 337 yards per game, the lack of tackling will be the issue against a spread offense that thrives on yards after the catch.
"If you're not tackling well, this offense can make you look silly," assistant head coach Monte Kiffin said.
-DT DaJohn Harris left practice early with a right foot injury.
-CB Shareece Wright (hip) and QB Mitch Mustain (ribs) were limited in practice.
-OL Butch Lewis (groin) increased his workload, participating in service period. Kiffin said he would need to see more from Lewis to play him at Hawaii.
"He'll have to do more and he will," Kiffin said. "We don't want to reaggravate anything with him. We're just happy to have him back our here with us."
-OL Khaled Holmes (neck) did not practice.
-PK Joe Houston and LB Ross Cumming have been awarded scholarships, Kiffin announced.
"It's a dream come true," Houston said. "All the hard work has paid off."
-The Trojans will not practice on any artificial surface ahead of next Thursday's game.