Update: April 12
USC was already down in numbers thanks to scholarship sanctions this year, but add to it 20 different players (via USC Athletics) that are out with injury and the Trojans are hurting for bodies—badly.
Depth is so bad that Lane Kiffin played running back during practice yesterday.
Now it is worse.
The latest news is that reserve tight end Randall Telfer (h/t College Football Talk) is out four to six weeks following knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Telfer was expected to take on a bigger role this fall at tight end, and this spring was his proving ground. This is the second major injury to the tight end position for USC with Xavier Grimble falling to injury earlier in spring.
Update: April 5
USC took a blow to the receiver corps yesterday when news dropped (via ESPN) that George Farmer will be out for the 2013 season with a torn ACL and MCL injury.
The injury occurred during a non-contact drill according to the report.
Farmer was expected to be a contributor this fall for the Trojans offense, but this setback will keep him on the bench for at least one more season.
Another injury that took the team by surprise was the torn meniscus of freshman safety Su’a Cravens. He is set to have surgery and will miss four to six weeks according to the report (h/t ESPN).
Update: April 3
The Trojans are in the heart of spring practice and yet again injuries are popping up. Receiver George Farmer is the latest in a string of injuries for USC when he fell to a knee injury on Tuesday (h/t L.A. Times) marking his third injury in as many years.
Farmer was just another injury in what has become an epidemic for the Trojans. On Tuesday, 15 players sat out of practice ( h/t L.A. Times) further hampering the spring production for the Trojans.
One positive through all of the injuries has been freshman Justin Davis. He has stepped in and shown a lot of flash this spring and should be able to help shore up the backfield for USC this fall.
Update: March 29
USC has been pushing through spring practice with a number of key injuries mounting along the way. Thursday another blow came to the squad when it was announced that tight end Xavier Grimble will be out for the remainder of practice with a fractured chest (h/t College Football Talk).
It hasn’t been all bad news as Max Wittek returned to the field (h/t Daily Trojan) this past Tuesday. He returned after spring break and is battling for the starting job with Cody Kessler and freshman Max Browne.
Update: March 18
Early in spring the USC Trojans took a hit to their star power when Max Wittek and Marqise Lee fell to knee injuries. Both are still out of practice, but Wittek is expected to return to the field when the Trojans return from spring break on March 26 (ESPN.com).
The Trojans received even worse news on March 16 when Silas Redd was announced to be out for the remainder of spring because of a surgical procedure on his left knee (College Football Talk).
On Saturday the Trojans scrimmaged and Lane Kiffin had some positive things to say about the developments out of L.A. (ESPN.com).
On the offensive development:
Kessler played great today. He just continues to make plays. I thought Buck had a good day, too. He’s had a good camp overall.
Kiffin on the defense:
I really thought the front seven on the first-unit defense played well. Hayes Pullard played great at linebacker while George Uko and Leonard Williams were dominant up front. The defense is really picking things up with the new scheme. I can’t imagine being more pleased.
Check back for more updates throughout spring.
Update: March 11
USC has completed the first full week of spring practice and there are a lot of movements happening on the field.
Injuries have limited the production of Max Wittek and Marqise Lee, putting two of the Trojans most well-known offensive skill players on the sideline for this past weekend’s scrimmage (Los Angeles Times).
Cody Kessler has stepped in for Wittek and had a strong first week according to reports, and the strong showing may put him a few steps ahead Wittek. This competition is far from over, but anytime a player gets extra work and does well, he gets an edge.
Kessler finished the first spring scrimmage 12-of-15 for 192 yards.
One move to watch is at center as journeyman offensive lineman Max Tuerk battles for the job. He has played every position along the line during his Trojans career.
Su’a Cravens is turning heads at safety and is expected to be a playmaker this fall.
Look for Wittek to return to the field this week and battle back into the quarterback competition.
Update: March 8
The Trojans had their second day of spring practice on Thursday and there was a lot of high praise for three early enrollees. During an interview with the media (USCTrojans.com) Lane Kiffin laid out the progress that he had witnessed so far through two practices.
He mentioned early enrollees Justin Davis, Su’a Cravens and Chris Hawkins as early standouts.
Kiffin also appeared happy with the development on offense. Silas Redd had a long run for the offense and should be a star heading into the new year.
Josh Shaw has made the transition to safety this spring and he told the media "I embrace it. I love it back here playing safety. It's kind of like you are a general. You have to know so much."
He seems ready to take his new role on and guide the defense heading into the fall.
Nelson Agholor has also been a topic of conversation and when asked about how he can help teams from keying on Marqise Lee he said "Myself and the rest of the receiving corps, we want to rise to the occasion and play at the level he is playing at. He's going to make us better."
He went on to tell the media Thursday that "I'm not getting satisfied. At first I wanted to contribute, now I just want to continue to grow."
One thing that was interesting that came from Lane Kiffin’s interview with the media was his response to possible NCAA regulations regarding extra staff members and recruiting, and whether or not he would hire more staff at USC.
After mentioning the advantages extra staff will bring to big schools, he went on to say that “We kind of had laid out a plan if it was going to go that direction of what we’d do. Like anything, we are going to want to stay up at the top of it, and not let anyone else have an advantage.”
It looks like more staff is on the way to USC.
Update: March 7
The Trojans opened spring camp on Tuesday with a lot of expectations taking the field with them.
In an interview with ESPNLA.com, head coach Lane Kiffin said that "It's all about winning. Winning makes people forget a lot of things."
He knows what it will take to get the Trojans faithful back in his court, and he understands the stakes that he is facing. He also told Mark Saxon as they walked to the USC complex and he entered his security combo at the door "Today is a good day. My code still works."
Kiffin sees what will happen with another 7-6 season. He has to win fast. It starts this spring.
Updates will follow throughout spring practice.
Spring practice schedule (USCFootball.com):
March 5 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
March 7 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
March 9 - Practice 2:00 p.m.
March 12 - Practice 9:00 a.m.
March 14 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
March 16 - Practice 9:00 a.m.
March 26 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
March 27 - USC Pro Day 11:15 a.m.
March 28 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
March 30 - Practice 11:00 a.m.
April 2 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
April 4 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
April 6 - Practice 11:00 a.m.
April 9 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
April 11 - Practice 4:00 p.m.
April 13 - Trojan Huddle 1:30 p.m.