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Insider

Saturday practice report

3/24/2012

LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans were scheduled to hold a scrimmage on Saturday in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but there was a change of plans due to a lack of bodies at several offensive skill positions.

The Trojans did not have any scholarship tight ends available, only two scholarship wide receivers and the only scholarship fullback left practice early in the day due to some back issues.

Lane Kiffin simply adjusted and held an extended practice session, and the good news was that there were some pretty good offensive performances from the guys who were out there.

In fact, Kiffin saw enough from tailback Tre Madden that he confirmed Madden will be staying on offense. Madden was moved from linebacker earlier this week for a test look and proceeded to give every indication that he has a future in the USC backfield.

“He (Madden) will be at running back,” Kiffin said. “He’s done some pretty special things. To see the way he stays up, at 225 pounds, and keeps that forward lean is pretty unique. He’s also got some good speed for a big guy.”

The two receivers who were available -- Victor Blackwell and De’Von Flournoy -- had good days as well. Both had receptions from Max Wittek on a scoring drive that ended with a Curtis McNeal touchdown run.

“Flournoy made a number of plays today,” Kiffin said. “What we can hope is that we can have another (Brandon) Carswell story. If you have the right attitude and you stay long enough, usually, you will play. Hopefully he’ll be another example of that.”

Perhaps the most active player on the field, however, was tight end/fullback Hunter Simmons. A walk-on from 2009-2011, Simmons left the program in the middle of last season. After deciding he wasn’t done playing yet, Simmons returned to the team this spring and has seen a lot of reps as the No. 2 fullback, one who is already familiar with the playbook.

Simmons was also taking reps at tight end this past week as injuries had left the team with only one available tight end in Randall Telfer. After Telfer went out on Thursday with a hamstring injury, Simmons was scheduled to start the scrimmage today at tight end, but then Soma Vainuku felt some back pain during early agility drills and left for the day. Due to that Simmons never came off the field on Saturday, as he took every rep at either fullback or tight end.

“Hunter Simmons was a workhorse today,” USC running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu said. “We had him go with the tight ends because we didn’t have any and he picked up the flag to do that. Then we get out here and Soma hurts his back and he ended up taking every snap. He never complained, he lined up right every time and he knew what to do. It’s great to have a young man like that around.”

Marqise Lee was not at the practice as he elected to take part in the long jump competition at the Trojan Invitation track meet. He won the event with a leap of 23 feet-11.5 inches.

ESPNU 150 watch list running back Ty Isaac (Joliet, IL/Catholic Academy) was in attendance today as part of his unofficial visit to USC.