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USC freshman Robert Woods likely to start at two positions in opener

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Freshman Robert Woods will probably start at two positions when USC opens its season next week at Hawaii.

Woods will return kickoffs and is on track to start at receiver opposite senior Ronald Johnson.

Woods said Wednesday that coaches told him he was the starting kick returner along with senior C.J. Gable.

“That’s pretty good for me — if I get one I’m going to try to go to the house,” Woods said.

Woods is still awaiting word regarding his status at receiver, but that appears to be a formality because he has been playing with the first-unit offense.

Woods had 226 all-purpose yards in Gardena Serra High’s Division III state-championship game victory over Kentfield Marin Catholic in December.

Tyler remains on track

Junior tailback Marc Tyler continues to get the majority of reps and, barring injury, will almost certainly start at tailback against Hawaii.

Coach Lane Kiffin met with senior Allen Bradford on Monday to let him know that Tyler had moved ahead. Bradford suffered a knee bruise last week.

Kiffin praised Bradford for the way he has responded the last two days.

“He ran the ball well,” Kiffin said. “I think you would have noticed real quickly if he was out here pouting because you’d see maybe he wasn’t finishing runs or moping around, so it’s good to see.”

Pullard surgery

Freshman linebacker Hayes Pullard, who starred at Crenshaw High, will have arthroscopic knee surgery and probably redshirt, Kiffin said.

“Unfortunately, that’s a position not very deep with us, so we were looking for him to be backup linebacker and play on our special teams,” Kiffin said.

Malcolm Smith, Michael Morgan, Devon Kennard and Chris Galippo are expected to play the majority of snaps at linebacker. Juniors Ross Cumming and Shane Horton are backups. Redshirt freshman Marquis Simmons is recovering from appendix surgery and redshirt freshman Simione Vehikite is transitioning back to linebacker after playing fullback.

Quick hits

Kiffin was not pleased with Wednesday’s workout. “We were hoping to really get this whole week nailed like a game week and get them in that mind-set and obviously we didn’t succeed completely today,” he said. … Butch Lewis, who has played all offensive line positions except center, continued his comeback from a groin injury and played tackle. … The Trojans will have a mock game Thursday at the Coliseum that is closed to the public.

gary.klein@latimes.com


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