USC ran a lighter-than-normal practice Thursday as depth apparently took a toll on the Trojans.
“I don’t want to say we’re beat up,” USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. “But we are a little more thin than normal.”
With 75 scholarships, USC starts out with 10 fewer than other schools. But because of issues like injuries, players turning pro early or quitting the team, the Trojans suited up only 55 players against Arizona State last weekend.
It does not necessarily mean the Trojans are at a disadvantage during games. USC used 52 players against Arizona State while the Sun Devils used 53. But practices are probably where lacking bodies shows itself more often.
“For a variety of reasons, things occur,” Sarkisian said. “It could be injury. It could be personal issues. It could be academic issues. It could be personality fits. We never like them. We want as many able bodies (as possible) because we’ll be better for it. But the reality of it is, it does occur.”
Sarkisian said that two years into the job at Washington, 27 players left the team for whatever reason.
“Really, you have to live with it,” Sarkisian said. “You have to keep moving forward and focus on the guys that you have.”
Blackwell off team
Wide receiver Victor Blackwell was officially removed from the roster this week after quitting the team right after the Boston College game.
“(We) haven’t seen him for a month,” Sarkisian said.
Blackwell left the team because he was unhappy with his playing time.
Safety Gerald Bowman (thigh) and tight end Randall Telfer (hip) practiced and will make the trip to Arizona today. Wide receiver Ajene Harris (hamstring) is out.
Sarkisian said freshman safety John Plattenburg would play more if Bowman struggles to overcome his thigh bruise.
“John Plattenburg is going to get put back in there and going to have to execute,” Sarkisian said. “It’s why those young freshmen came here, because they wanted to play early.”
Snapper Zach Smith (concussion) was cleared and should play, which is significant because he missed last week’s game. That caused Sarkisian to employ quarterback Cody Kessler at punter, with mixed results.
Mock Final Four
The College Football Playoff held a mock committee meeting with media members standing in for the regular members and data from the 2008 season. The result was USC was the final team selected for the Final Four and paired with Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
Oklahoma played Texas in the other semifinal at the Rose Bowl. The Trojans were selected ahead of Penn State.
USC went 12-1 in 2008 and defeated Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
Stat of the week
Arizona rushed for 434 yards against Nevada-Las Vegas and passed for 520 against Cal. USC allowed 452 yards rushing against Boston College and 510 passing against Arizona State.
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