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USC receiver Robert Woods sits out practice again

Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin says the sophomore (ankle, shoulder injuries) could be sidelined against Oregon, with his status to be determined at warmups. But Woods says he's 'ready to go.'

November 17, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC receiver Robert Woods breaks away from Arizona conerback Trevin Wade during an 82-yard touchdown play earlier this season.
USC receiver Robert Woods breaks away from Arizona conerback Trevin Wade… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

USC released a video Thursday promoting Robert Woods for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to college football's top receiver.

That might seem like odd timing.

Woods sat out practice for a second consecutive day because of ankle and shoulder injuries that Coach Lane Kiffin said could sideline the sophomore when the No. 18 Trojans play No. 4 Oregon at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.

Or, the promo could portend what anyone who knows Woods, including Oregon Coach Chip Kelly, expects to happen.

That Woods will play.

"I feel good enough and I'm ready to go," said Woods, who ranks fifth nationally with an average of 9.2 receptions per game.

Kiffin maintained that Woods' status would be determined during warmups before the game.

"I'm going to have to see speed," Kiffin said, "that he can go and get in and out of breaks and be able to play at a high level for us."

Woods struggled last week against Washington, catching two passes for five yards, both season lows.

He said that the right ankle he injured playing basketball last spring was "50-50" and that his shoulder was "aggravated."

Nevertheless, he cannot imagine standing on the sideline while the Trojans try to upset the Ducks.

"He's the one calling the personnel," Woods said of Kiffin, "but I'm definitely in his ear trying to get on the field."

Senior Brandon Carswell, junior Brice Butler and freshman Kyle Prater could play more if Woods is limited.

Carswell has 16 receptions, one for a touchdown. Butler has 11 receptions, including a 36-yard catch last week against Washington. Prater has one reception for six yards.

In the middle

Freshman Lamar Dawson is preparing for a huge responsibility in his third start at middle linebacker.

"It's going to be a big challenge because they're so up-tempo," he said of Oregon. "I have to get the calls and make them quick so I can get everybody lined up."

Dawson had four tackles against Colorado, three against Washington.

Monte Kiffin, USC's assistant head coach for defense, does not anticipate Dawson's struggling against the Ducks' multiple-set, high-speed attack.

"The [last] two weeks he had all kinds of shifts," Kiffin said. "[Washington Coach] Steve Sarkisian was all over the place, he motions a lot, so I think Lamar will be fine."

Quick hits

Defensive tackles DaJohn Harris and Christian Tupou and offensive tackle Matt Kalil were limited in practice…. Quarterback Matt Barkley, center Khaled Holmes, defensive lineman Devon Kennard and safety Drew McAllister were second-team selections to the Pac-12 Conference's All-Academic team.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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