USC Trojans: Zach Laskey

LOS ANGELES -- After taking part in an early evening practice on Wednesday, the Trojans went right back to the grind Thursday afternoon, impressing USC head coach Lane Kiffin with their ability to bounce back with another strong bowl game workout after such a short break.

“It’s not easy, they’re coming back after a later practice yesterday -- less than 24 hours off for back-to-back, full-padded, full-tackling practices -- that’s very unusual,” Kiffin said. “So, I thought they responded well.”

The unorthodox schedule over the last two days occurred primarily because of finals, but Kiffin believes that there is also some strategic value in it.

“One of the things about bowl games is trying to get players to buy into the [idea] that it’s not a soft, long time atmosphere -- rather than tell them, ‘Well, we still have 10 more [practices or] we still have 9 more,’ " Kiffin said. “The problem with that is then you’re finally practicing, and you’ve had a long layoff of having really physical stuff. So our plan has been to have a couple of really hard ones right now, almost as if you’re playing a game.”

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