Day two of the Lane Kiffin era was nearly identical to day one — lots of second teamers, lots of intensity and a heavy emphasis on discipline.The Trojans still have more than a dozen players out of action, giving many of the second teamers an opportunity to get their reps in.“It was a really good opportunity for those guys that need double reps to get better,” said coach Lane Kiffin.Those second teamers filled in at a variety of positions, including center when junior Kris O’ Dowd went down with a knee injury. Details on the injury were sparse, but O’Dowd was held out of practice the rest of the day. He was expected to see a doctor soon after practice.“We obviously don’t want to push him through, it being spring practice,” Kiffin said.That same sentiment was extended to junior tight end Blake Ayles, who was held out of Tuesday’s practice.Ayles participated in limited drills, but most of the tight end reps went to senior David Ausberry and fourth-year junior Jordan Cameron. Kiffin described the two as “the number one and two tight ends right now.”Ausberry, a wide receiver for the last three seasons, was moved to tight end because the injury to Ayles and redshirt junior Rhett Ellison catching mononucleosis. The move is permanent for now, according to Kiffin, because “we just don’t have the numbers.”Besides moving players to new positions, the team added 14 new walk-ons yesterday, and may be hosting an additional tryout in the future.—The intensity present on day one remained, in part thanks to a new special teams drill.“It’s a kickoff-kickoff coverage drill,” special teams coach John Baxter said.The first-year coach is looking to inject some intensity into special teams drills that usually lack it. The team was divided into four tribes, like in the TV show Survivor. The teams compete against each other and against themselves for points.“The person with the least amount of points, the team as a whole has to vote them off,” said senior running back Allen Bradford, the captain of team Atlas.As the captain, Bradford is responsible for maintaining the team flag, an elaborate drawing of Atlas holding up a football-shaped Earth. The competition encouraged by the game is designed to bring the team and the staff together, said defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.“Once we get to the fall, there’s only one flag that matters, and that’s the one with the ’SC on it,” Baxter said. The intensity built in the special teams drill was present throughout the defensively dominated practice.—Practice ended with the traditional 11 on 11 scrimmage, highlighted by redshirt junior defensive tackle Da’John Harris tipping a Matt Barkley pass and subsequently intercepting it.“I’ve been dreaming about that play since I got here,” Harris said. “It was too perfect.”
Built Ford tough · Freshman outside hitter Alyse Ford has emerged as a force for the Women of Troy offense, averaging just under three kills per set. – Tal Volk | Daily TrojanThe No. 1-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (22-0, 10-0 Pac-12) is back on the road this weekend, starting the second half of their conference schedule by visiting No. 5-ranked Washington (18-2, 8-2) on Friday in Seattle before heading over to the Palouse to face Washington State (14-8, 3-7) on Sunday.The Women of Troy are the lone undefeated team in the nation and are off to the fourth best start in program history. However, head coach Mick Haley knows that winning streak will be put to the test against the Huskies and the Cougars.“It’s a hard schedule this year going to the Pacific Northwest back to back. We just got back from Oregon, and now we’re off to Seattle,” Haley said. “And it’s always a trap game when you play Washington first and you go to Pullman second, so you really have to be on your game to win two on the road this weekend.”After two road victories against the Oregon schools last week, USC will square off in a rematch against another top-5 opponent in Washington. The last time these two teams met, USC pulled out a thrilling 3-1 victory at the Galen Center and snapped the Huskies’ 13-match winning streak. Senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio had 27 kills and three aces to lead USC in that match, while fellow senior Alicia Ogoms added 12 kills and six blocks.Playing in Seattle has been a different story, however, as Alaska Airlines Arena has not been kind to the Women of Troy. USC has gone just 1-9 over the last 10 games in Seattle, dating back to 2004.“They’re chomping at the bit to get back at us, and it’ll be their home match, so we’ll have to be really good,” Haley said. “I think this is probably going to be one of the more important matches of the year for both teams.”Playing Washington State on Sunday will also be a challenge for USC, as the Cougars have pushed the Women of Troy to five sets in Pullman in each of the last two years.“Washington State always plays well at home, and they always play us tough. We would expect nothing less than their best efforts,” Haley said.Still, the Women of Troy lead the all-time series, 47-13, and have won 9 of the last 10 meetings.The fast-paced Women of Troy offense will be headlined by the reigning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week in Bricio, who leads USC with 5.07 kills per set and 0.76 aces per set. She has also found a formidable counterpart in freshman Alyse Ford, who has come on strong as of late. The 5-foot-10 pin hitter has strung together a number of impressive matches over the last three weeks and upped her season averages to 2.99 kills per set, second highest on the team, with a .299 hitting percentage.On defense, USC will be led by Ogoms and junior libero Taylor Whittingham, both of whom lead the Pac-12 with 1.58 blocks per set and 5.11 digs per set, respectively.Friday’s match against No. 5 Washington will tip off at 8 p.m. and will air on the Pac-12 Networks, while Sunday’s match against Washington State is set for 12:30 p.m.