Josh Shaw returns to practice for USC

Josh Shaw returns to practice for USC
Cornerback Josh Shaw takes a breather during a USC practice this fall. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)

Josh Shaw took direction from several coaches. He also shadowed teammates. Then the USC cornerback became fully immersed in his first USC football practice in nearly three months.

Shaw, who was reinstated from a suspension, worked Wednesday with the defense and special teams as the Trojans prepared for Saturday's game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl.


Coach Steve Sarkisian said the 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior appeared to be in shape. But he did not say whether Shaw would play against the Bruins.

"I thought he moved pretty fluidly," Sarkisian said. "You can tell he's been active.

"From a game-plan standpoint, we really don't know."

Shaw is no longer a team captain, and Sarkisian said Shaw would not be accessible to the media until a bowl game.

"I just want to give him a chance to focus on playing football," Sarkisian said. "He's been through a lot. He's probably gotten more media attention than he's ever wanted over the last three months."

Shaw was suspended in August after admitting he fabricated a story about how he suffered ankle injuries. He also was the subject of a police investigation related to an argument he had with his girlfriend, but he was not charged. He missed 10 games before being reinstated Tuesday.

USC players welcomed him back.

"People make mistakes," linebacker Su'a Cravens said, adding, "That's our brother. We're always going to have his back."

Said defensive lineman Leonard Williams: "It's just great to have him back. He's a great player."

Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said there was no time line for when Shaw might play. "We're glad to have Josh back," he said, adding, "We'll see."

Secondary coach Keith Heyward echoed Wilcox. "Having Josh back is a bonus," he said. "How he's going to help us, if he's going to help us, I don't know."

Heyward said he saw enough of Shaw during training camp to assess his talent.

"He's a strong, tall, long DB that can cover one-on-one and that can run and that will tackle," Heyward said. "He's a guy that can lock up a receiver."

Williams is key


Williams, a candidate for several postseason is awards, is looking forward to facing UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.

"That's the big picture that we've been focusing on all week, making sure we contain him in the pocket and limit his rushing yards," Williams said.

Last season, Hundley rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-14 victory at the Coliseum.

In September, Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy keyed on how Williams reacted after the snap and then made decisions accordingly in a 37-31 Trojans' loss.

Williams would not be surprised if UCLA tried something similar.

"We definitely worked on it and I've improved on that type of play," he said."So I'm looking forward to whatever they throw at us."

Quick hits

Tight end Bryce Dixon's status for the UCLA game was uncertain as of Wednesday morning, Sarkisian said. Dixon, who is practicing, was suspended from the last game against California because of an unspecified student conduct issue…. Javorius Allen is among 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker award, presented to college football's top running back. Allen has rushed for 1,184 yards and eight touchdowns.

Twitter: @latimesklein