USC

USC's Cody Kessler has enough time to rest his arm before Holiday Bowl

Trojans wrap up practice and head for San Diego with a game plan

It's been more than three weeks since USC's quarterback Cody Kessler finished the regular season with a flourish against Notre Dame.

So the junior is feeling fit going into Saturday's Holiday Bowl against Nebraska.

"It was good to get the body rested," he said Tuesday after practice.

USC spent two weeks going through developmental practices, allowing young quarterbacks Max Browne and Jalen Green to take more snaps. Kessler rested his arm, sought maintenance treatment for his body and increased cardiovascular training to "get back in shape like I was in preseason."

Kessler resumed taking the majority of first-team reps last week as coaches installed the game plan for Nebraska.

After two days off, the Trojans returned Tuesday for their final practice on campus.

Kessler was sharp, Coach Steve Sarkisian said.

"Even the things that were off just a hair, he was quick to point out why and what to do to get it fixed," Sarkisian said. "So I think Cody's in a great frame of mind."

Kessler has passed for 36 touchdowns, with four interceptions.

Seven touchdown passes came against Colorado, five against Washington State and six against Notre Dame.

Kessler was not as productive against better teams such as UCLA and Arizona.

Sarkisian was asked whether criticism of Kessler's statistical performance was fair.

"I just know what he does for us on a daily basis," Sarkisian said. "The guy's been unbelievable."

Sarkisian noted Kessler's mental approach, leadership and execution of the game plan.

"We're just thankful that he's our quarterback," Sarkisian said. "He does great, and I expect him to come out and play really good on Saturday."

Jersey swap

As they did under previous coaches, many players swapped jerseys for the final practice of the season at Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field.

Receiver Nelson Agholor traded his No. 15 for offensive lineman Khaliel Rodgers' No. 62.

"I love my offensive linemen," Agholor said. "So I always want to switch with the O line."

During the workout, Sarkisian appeared miffed by the switches. Afterward, he did not criticize the tradition.

"I'm for it when they practice really well," he said. "They practiced really well."

Quick hits

The Trojans departed on buses for San Diego a few hours after practice ended…. USC will practice Wednesday and Thursday and have a walk-through Friday.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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