USC freshman running back Silas Redd takes part in a team practice session… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
USC tailback Silas Redd walked down the Coliseum tunnel in pads for the first time Friday, trying to imagine what the scene would be like when the Trojans play a real game.
The transfer from Penn State eyed a mural of former Trojans players and then the vast expanse of stadium seats as he stepped onto the turf for USC's first scrimmage in preparation for their Sept. 1 opener against Hawaii.
"Just knowing the history that was on the field," he said afterward, "it was nerve-wracking a little bit, but it was great."
Redd did not get a lot of work — he carried the ball only twice — but the 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior flashed his talent on a 43-yard run.
Redd took a hand-off, broke off the left side with a block from fullback Soma Vainuku and then raced down the sideline before he was dragged down inside the five-yard line.
"He knows how to explode through the hole," quarterback Matt Barkley said. "He runs hard and pretty much got down all the protections. He knew his mental game, so he's a good addition."
On a day when senior tailback Curtis McNeal was sidelined after two plays because of what he described as "a little stinger," and other Trojans running backs struggled to hold onto the ball, Redd's brief work encouraged Coach Lane Kiffin.
"That's why we got him," Kiffin said.
Redd said he was "never satisfied" and that there was "always room for improvement."
That's what Kiffin thought after watching fumbles by sophomore tailback D.J. Morgan, redshirt freshman tailback Buck Allen and freshman fullback Jahleel Pinner. The Trojans' passing game also struggled with timing issues.
"As usual you have younger guys make a lot of mistakes," Kiffin said. "That's why we come in here instead of waiting for the first game of the year."
Senior end Wes Horton gave young defensive linemen such as Greg Townsend Jr. and J.R. Tavai high marks, calling the scrimmage "a good first step for us."
A day after USA Today revealed his confidential vote in the coaches' poll because it said he volunteered false or misleading information about his vote in public, Kiffin sounded unfazed.
"Not a big deal," he said.
Last week, when a reporter said Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez had voted USC No. 1, Kiffin said, "I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that."
But Kiffin did vote the Trojans No. 1, so USA Today made the vote public "to protect the poll's integrity."
Kiffin reiterated that his comment was aimed at other coaches and media members who vote in polls.
Asked Friday if he would continue to vote in the poll, Kiffin said, "They probably won't let me."
Asked if would like to keep voting in the poll, he said, "I don't really care." He later added: "The coaches I know, the good ones, they don't watch other games. They're trying to worry about their own team, watching film. Yet we vote on who's the best."
Morgan rushed for 69 yards in 10 carries…. Barkley completed seven of 16 passes for 109 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown to tight end Randall Telfer. Barkley also overthrew several open receivers and safety Demetrius Wright dropped what should have been an interception…. Quarterback Max Wittek completed six of 10 passes for 77 yards, Cody Kessler four of eight for 35 yards with an interception by linebacker Will Andrew…. Walk-on cornerback William Tober returned a fumble 76 yards for a touchdown.