Thoughts from Thursday’s practice, through the eyes of USCRipsIt…
– With football icon Jim Brown in attendance and cool weather in the air, the Trojans sped through a brief half-pads practice on a quintessential gridiron evening under the lights. The workout closed out the on-field portion of game preparation and pushed the team one step closer to the Stanford matchup at the Coliseum on Saturday. “We were really sharp this week in practice,” Coach Carroll said. “Hopefully we bring that to game time.”
– Wideout Damian Williams (ankle) has been ruled out of Saturday’s game, and Brice Butler will start in his place. “We’ll miss [Williams’] production and leadership,” Carroll said. “But we’re excited for what Brice did this week.”
– Tight end Anthony McCoy (ankle) will play Saturday, and his return will be very positive news for a position group that was thinned by Blake Ayles’ knee and ankle injury in Wednesday’s practice. Ayles is doubtful for this weekend, Carroll said.
– Hall-of-famer Jim Brown’s appearance added a special element to the practice, as he watched from the sidelines and then briefly spoke to the team after the workout. “Joe [McKnight] and A.B. [Allen Bradford] went over there and they came back like little kids,” Carroll said of their mid-practice meeting with Brown, who stopped by because of his connection with Carroll’s A Better LA charity.
– Matt Barkley produced the highlight of the day during 11-on-11 drills when he stepped up in the collapsing pocket and threw on the run to Brice Butler over the middle. Coaches burst out in applause for the heady play.