Thin in the Middle
Wide receiver Ronald Johnson and defensive lineman Armond Armstead both got extended work on Monday and are expected to be available against Notre Dame.
"It was great that they are practicing," Carroll said. "I would think that if everything stays the same and these guys make it through the practices, they will be able to be available to us in the game plan."
Armstead took reps at both defensive end and defensive tackle and should supply some depth and versatility along the defensive line for the Trojans.
"Mondo got a lot of work today," Carroll said. "We moved him in a couple of spots and he made it through feeling good, so that was terrific."
Speedy wide receiver Ronald Johnson will give the Trojans a true deep threat in the passing game and take pressure off of the ground attack. Johnson will have a role in the offense but won't be asked to return kicks.
While the Trojans were pleased to have Johnson and Armstead back at full speed, the enthusiasm was dampened a bit by the absence of Averell Spicer, Christian Tupou and Nick Perry.
All three defensive linemen missed Monday's practice with various injuries.
Redshirt freshman Nick Perry, who leads the team with 6 sacks, was held out of practice again as he rests his bruised knee.
"We gave him a couple of days rest," Carroll said. "I thought he would be better than that but this is the last day for him to take off in preparation.
"We got to get this thing to go away because it has come back three times on him. He keeps banging it."
Nose tackle Christian Tupou also missed practice with a knee injury that he suffered during the bye week.
"Christian got his knee pinched a little bit last week and he is still a little bit stiff," Carroll said. "He's trying to force his way through it, which he probably will. If at all possible this guy will play."
Averell Spicer missed practice after tweaking his ankle during last week but said he plans to return to practice on Tuesday.
Mustain ‘Moved Up'
After an impressive month of practice, junior quarterback Mitch Mustain took the reps with the second-team offense on Monday and has overtaken Aaron Corp for the No.2 QB spot.
"Mitch took more snaps today," Carroll said. "Jeremy (Bates) moved him up just based on the way he has looked the past two weeks and so he is a little bit ahead."
The news wasn't a surprise since Mustain completed 10-of-12 passes during Friday's scrimmage, while Corp attempted just 3 passes.
"Mitch has just done really well. He feels way more comfortable," Carroll said. "He's throwing the ball consistently and it's great to see that the guys continue to battle.
"All I can tell you is we have been here before and watched these guys kind of move back and forth a little bit."
The Trojans got a surprise return from Brian Baucham on Monday.
The sophomore cornerback returned to the practice field for the first time since being involved in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 17th.
"Baucham just practiced," Pete Carroll said with excitement in his voice. "They figured there was no way he could, and he just came out and practiced today."
Baucham took reps in practice with the second-team defense and looked comfortable, despite still having scrapes on his body.
"It's pretty exciting to see the guy back out," Carroll said. "He came out here and went right after it today and didn't even miss a beat. It's exciting."
Carroll was very impressed with how Baucham was able to fight through the pain and make it back out on the practice field.
"Obviously, he has something about him. He's resilient, tough-minded and he just won't accept the fact that he's hurt," Carroll said. "I think a lot of guys would not be in this situation. I think he has a special mentality about it. He is back out here working, it's great."
- Averell Spicer, Byron Moore, Marshall Jones, Hebron Fangupo, Nick Perry and Christian Tupou were among the players that didn't participate in Monday's practice.
- Byron Moore didn't practice with a sprained shoulder.
- After opening up the place kicker competition during the bye week, Pete Carroll announced today that Jordan Congdon would remain the starter. Jacob Harfman will handle the kickoff and punting duties this week.
- One Notre Dame player that the USC defense will be keying on this Saturday is wide receiver Golden Tate. The junior wide receiver ranks fourth nationally with 120.4 receiving yards per game and has lined up at wide receiver, running back, fullback and quarterback for the Irish.
"What's special about him is he is like a running back playing wide receiver. He's real strong," Carroll said. "He makes plays that other guys wouldn't normally make. He is stronger than most receivers. You have to tackle him like he is a running back."
- Safety Drew McAllister had two interceptions on the day. Both interceptions came on passes from Mitch Mustain.
- Carroll said that C.J. Gable and Curtis McNeal will return kicks against Notre Dame.
Mitch Mustain is the No.2 QB for USC. (Jaime Rodriguez Photo)
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While the Trojans were pleased to have Ronald Johnson and Armond Armstead back at full speed, the enthusiasm was dampened a bit by the absence of Averell Spicer, Christian Tupou and Nick Perry. All three defensive linemen missed Monday's practice with various injuries.
All the news, notes and quotes from Monday's practice.