USC freshmen keep their goals in focus


USC players did not practice Monday, spending part of the day posing for team, group and individual photos.

Today, when the Trojans go through their first double-day workouts of training camp, freshmen will continue their quest to stay in the picture for playing time.

Receivers Robert Woods and Markeith Ambles, cornerback Nickell Robey and defensive lineman George Uko were among the newcomers who made favorable impressions during the first five days of practice.

So were tight ends Xavier Grimble, Randall Telfer and Christian Thomas, all attempting to learn the system and grasp the intricacies of the position.

“I just can’t wait till they get up to the speed with the offense so they can just play,” quarterback Matt Barkley said of the trio.

The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Robey, from Frostproof, Fla., has been a quick study and a playmaker.

“Some places, they may install a couple defenses and then add a couple more and then a couple more,” secondary coach Willie Mack Garza said. “We just put it all on them very quick and he’s handled that pretty well . So I would expect he’s only going to get better and to play a lot faster.”

Middle ground

Sophomore middle linebacker Devon Kennard looks forward to playing with the first unit in the next scrimmage.

Kennard worked with the second group Sunday and made a team-best seven tackles.

“I felt like I was flying around and got in on a lot of plays so I’m excited about that,” he said.

Weak-side linebacker Malcolm Smith said there was no discernible difference between Kennard and junior Chris Galippo in the middle.

“They both do a good job of communicating with the rest of the defense,” Smith said.

On the line

After watching the defensive line dominate for most of the first week, Coach Lane Kiffin expects a better performance from the offensive line, especially when it’s at full strength.

Sophomore Matt Kalil and senior Butch Lewis sat out Sunday’s scrimmage but should return Tuesday.

“We had a lot of effort out there [during the scrimmage], but we didn’t have that much mental discipline,” senior center Kristofer O’Dowd said. “We’ll bring that up to a better level in the next one.”