Freshman Su'a Cravens making a push to start in USC's secondary

Freshman Su'a Cravens making a push to start in USC's secondary
Freshman safety Su'a Cravens could start in the Trojans' season opener against Hawaii on Aug. 29. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

As USC grinds through training camp — 19 players sat out practice Tuesday because of injuries, Coach Lane Kiffin said — Su'a Cravens pushes on.

The freshman safety is expected to play, and possibly start, when the Trojans open the season Aug. 29 at Hawaii.


For now, Cravens is focused on getting through his first camp, which began Aug. 3.

"I'm not used to waking up every day at 6 in the morning, work during practice, go to meetings, go back to practice and go back to meetings," Cravens said, laughing. "It's hard to stay up, and do it the next day, but I'm getting used to the grind.

"It's something we have to do to get better."

Kiffin ran a shorter practice Tuesday to prevent overworking available players.

Cravens, 18, was the USA Today defensive player of the year in 2012 at Vista Murrieta High. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Cravens enrolled at USC in January and participated in spring practice, but he suffered a knee injury that forced him to sit out much of it and required surgery.

Cravens sat out several practices last week because of an undisclosed injury but said his knee was "100%."

He is part of a safety rotation that also includes seniors Josh Shaw and Demetrius Wright and junior Dion Bailey. And he hopes to start.

"I didn't come here just to sit on the bench," Cravens said. "I came to SC to try and get on the field as fast as I can."

Cravens is training-camp roommates with Bailey, a two-year starter at linebacker before returning to the secondary.

"He's been my big brother," Cravens said. "He's really helping."

Browne positive

Max Browne is no longer in competition with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler to become the starting quarterback, but the freshman remains undeterred.

"That was my goal, to come in here and start, but obviously things didn't work out that way," Browne said. "But it's not a totally negative thing. I'll keep on developing and keep on working and stay ready at all times."

When Kiffin announced Sunday that it was a two-man race, he said that Browne handled the news like "a professional" when informed in a meeting the day before.


"I wasn't sulking, I wasn't pouting," Browne said. "I was appreciative that he met with me and appreciative that he talked to me."

Barring injury or subpar play by Wittek or Kessler, Browne is probably on track to redshirt. But he intends to keep pushing the older quarterbacks.

"I have to take that mind-set each and every week and watch just as much film as Max or Cody and be right there helping them prepare," he said, adding "and at the same time help myself be ready for whenever that time comes."

Quick hits

Former California coach Jeff Tedford observed practice, chatting at times on the sideline with Kiffin, former USC coach John Robinson and USC players. Tedford coached Kiffin at Fresno State. USC defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast worked under Tedford at Cal the last three seasons before Tedford was fired. ... USC is scheduled to practice twice Wednesday. ... Kiffin and USC basketball Coach Andy Enfield are among guests who will appear weekly on "Trojans Live," a one-hour Thursday night radio show on KFWB (980) that will begin airing on Aug. 22, USC announced. The show will be broadcast before an audience at a restaurant near campus. The show will also stream on, and

Twitter: @latimesklein