USC’s Robert Woods gets some time in on defensive side
Robert Woods has been virtually everywhere for USC, catching three passes for touchdowns and returning kickoffs last week against Stanford.
On Tuesday, the versatile freshman standout from Carson worked at another position: defensive back.
The 6- foot-1, 185-pound Woods took several reps during one-on-one drills and said he would welcome the opportunity to play both ways.
“I don’t know what they’re planning on doing in the future but they told me to get some reps in,” said Woods, who had 24 interceptions in three seasons at Gardena Serra High. “I was a little rusty so I have to work on my technique.”
Going into Saturday’s Pacific 10 Conference game against California, USC is ranked 100th in total defense and 116th in pass defense among 120 major college teams.
Coach Lane Kiffin has said that a major defensive overhaul is not forthcoming.
When asked about Woods’ playing on defense, Kiffin said, “There are a number of things we’re looking at with our depth.”
Woods dropped a pass on the Trojans’ first play against Stanford but finished with 12 receptions for 224 yards and scored on plays of six, 61 and six yards. The catch he thought about most over the weekend was the one he failed to make on a diving attempt in the end zone in the final minutes.
“I should have caught it,” he said. “That one stuck in my head.”
Kiffin’s as well.
“He has a tendency in that situation to not have enough confidence and [he tried to] body-catch it,” Kiffin said. “So that’s something that we’re working on with him…. He’s got a long ways to go but the way he approaches the game is why he’s playing so well.”
Freshman running back Dillon Baxter did not practice and was scheduled to meet with doctors Tuesday night to find out the extent of a foot injury that knocked him out of the Stanford game early in the fourth quarter.
Baxter, who scored on the Trojans’ opening drive, said he hyperextended toes on his left foot after a 12-yard gain out of the wildcat.
“I started getting more touches and we started working the wildcat more and I finally got my first touchdown,” he said. “I was pretty jacked. To get hurt and [possibly] be out the next game [stinks].”
Linebacker Malcolm Smith, who suffered a knee sprain making a third-down stop on Stanford’s first series, said he did not know his status for this week’s game. Chris Galippo worked at the spot…. According to USC’s sports information office, USC had lost only four games on the final play before suffering consecutive losses against Washington and Stanford on last-second field goals. “Four times in [more than] 100 years and now we’ve done it twice in the last seven days,” Kiffin said. “It’s a record we didn’t really want to break or be a part of.”