USC Football Practice Notes: Number Swaps and Senior Send Offs


The USC Trojans got in a last practice Tuesday morning before heading to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl complete with mass number switching and the traditional senior send off.

As can be expected, the players’ decision to swap jerseys for the final practice of the year at Howard Jones field led to come confusion.

Steve Sarkisian, looking perplexed, told reporters that he had no clue why the players decided to swap numbers but he did not mind the stunt so long as his players stayed on point.

“I’m for it when they practice really well,” Sarkisian said. “So, they practiced good today.”

Though the number swaps appear to be a new USC football tradition, the players kept up an old one as well, forming a human tunnel for seniors to run through as a send off of sorts.

News and Notes:

  • On the injury front, Ajene Harris still has yet to practice as he deals with a hamstring injury and is unlikely to play in the Holiday Bowl, according to Michael Lev of the OC Register. The good news is Uchenna Nwosu, who has struggled with a sprained ankle, returned to practice Tuesday.
  • Sarkisian was pleased with an improvement he saw from last week.“They did a much better job coming out with a sense of purpose after a couple days off,” Sarkisian said, comparing the practice to last week’s when he was disappointed with the focus on their return. “I wanted to get a really good practice in here before we got on the buses and went to San Diego. We were able to do that.”
  • What does Sarkisian think of Nebraska’s elite defensive end Randy Gregory? “He’s really good.”The Trojan head coach did not leave it there of course. Praising Gregory’s size and explosivenes, Sarkisian warned that his versatility and high football IQ would also present a great challenge for USC.
  • The man tasked with handling Gregory for most of the game will be Toa Lobendahn, who also earned praise from the head coach.“Every day Toa Lobendahn takes the field he gets better,” Sarkisian said. Though he called Lobendahn’s progress in transitioning from guard to tackle as a freshman, Sarkisian also admitted that there would need to be plenty of help for Lobendahn against Gregory in the bowl game.
  • Cody Kessler told Rahshaun Haylock of Fox Sports that the breaks from practice have been good for his arm, which needed a rest.On the subject of Kessler, Sarkisian told reporters that his quarterback has a good feel for the game plan and that the Trojans are lucky to have him as their quarterback.
  • Back up Max Browne is not sitting on his laurel’s as bowl prep continues. He said late after practice to work with Clay Helton, according to Lev.