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USC Coach Lane Kiffin likes the way the numbers add up

The Trojans have 102 football players in camp, giving them depth they lacked in spring.

August 05, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • Sophomore Robert Woods is part of a deep and talented receiving corps this summer at USC.
Sophomore Robert Woods is part of a deep and talented receiving corps this… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

USC will sport a different sartorial look this season, Coach Lane Kiffin saying Friday his team would wear black socks for home games instead of traditional white.

The Trojans already look different in practice, but it has nothing to do with uniforms.

It's about the number of players.

After a spring that featured the absences of multiple starters and key reserves because of injuries or other issues, Kiffin and his staff have 102 players in training camp, and nearly all of them are active.

"It's great to be back," said senior linebacker Shane Horton, who sat out spring practice after hip surgery.

"It made me more hungry," said sophomore cornerback Torin Harris, who said he is completely recovered from shoulder surgery.

The second day of workouts was not quite as crisp or energetic as the first, but the usually low-key Kiffin sounded uncharacteristically excited about the added depth. It was a stark contrast to the spring, when the Trojans often did not have enough players to scrimmage effectively.

"As much as you try to stay positive, it was discouraging," Kiffin said. "We were coaching a number of people that are never going to play Division I college football."

The offensive and defensive lines are deeper and the linebacker corps appears fortified.

The receivers group also has swelled after only two scholarship players — senior Brandon Carswell and De'Von Flournoy — participated in most of the spring workouts.

Freshmen George Farmer, Marqise Lee and Victor Blackwell have provided an influx of young talent. Junior Brice Butler is playing more physically after sitting out spring practice while pondering a transfer. Redshirt freshman Kyle Prater has impressed after sitting out spring workouts because of injuries.

"That's like adding three rookies, but also adding two free agents that already know our system," Kiffin said.

It remains to be seen how players will perform in games, but Kiffin is encouraged by the early signs. The coach even mentioned the talent-laden teams of the Pete Carroll era.

"Our young skill guys on offense are starting to look like what they used to here," Kiffin said. "And now we've got to continue to do that for two more years and that's when you get back to what you saw before."

Quick hits

Freshman tailback Amir Carlisle was a standout on offense for the second consecutive day. . . . Kiffin on the quick feet of 6-foot-6 freshman offensive lineman Aundrey Walker: "At 364 pounds, they don't make many humans like that." . . . Junior college transfer Jeremy Galten is working with the first-unit offensive line at right guard, and sophomore John Martinez is at left guard. . . . Freshman center Cody Temple did not practice for the second day because of a back issue, and freshman defensive lineman J.R. Tavai did not finish the workout because of a hamstring problem, Kiffin said. ... Suspended senior tailback Marc Tyler is not participating in practices, meetings or any team activities during training camp, but he does have access to the weight room for monitored workouts, Kiffin said.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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