Safety Su'a Cravens was Freshman All-American in 2013, a player who lived up to the hype that accompanied his arrival at USC.
But the sophomore said Thursday that he considered himself "third-string."
Cravens, who sat out most of the previous two practices because of strep throat, was being overly critical of himself after struggling to regain his conditioning.
"I was slow on my assignments, I was thinking too much, I let a couple guys beat me," he said.
USC coaches are not concerned.
Cravens started 13 games last season and intercepted four passes.
He is regarded as one of the leaders of a defense that will be regarded as a Trojans strength when USC opens its season Aug. 30 against Fresno State.