USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Woods might be too injured to play Nov. 16, 2011

from LA Daily News - All Sports News· ·

USC coach Lane Kiffin shook things up Wednesday with either a psychological ploy or jarring admission on the eve of the Trojans' big game with No.

USC coach Lane Kiffin shook things up Wednesday with either a psychological ploy or jarring admission on the eve of the Trojans' big game with No. 4-ranked Oregon when he claimed star receiver Robert Woods might miss the game because of assorted injuries. Woods, who is nursing shoulder and ankle injuries, did not practice Wednesday and is a constant visitor to the trainers' room, but nothing suggested he would miss a game. "If you look at the last two games and yesterday, he's going in the wrong direction," Kiffin said. "He's not getting better. Hopefully this (missing practice) will help. If he can't go this week, hopefully he'll be back close to full speed for UCLA. "We've got (scout)-team corners that he can't run by right now." If Kiffin is to be believed, it raised immediate questions, such as why did Woods return punts against Washington with a 27-point lead? Or why did Woods play receiver with a 40-10 advantage over the Huskies? Woods might have played less "if I knew we would win by 40 points (but) there was no way to know," Kiffin said. "They beat us the last two years." Oregon coach Chip Kelly dismissed Kiffin's injury report and told the (Ore.) Register-Guard newspaper, "He's playing, I can tell you that right now. I love that kid, he's a competitor. He's playing." Woods never offered a hint about missing the game when he spoke after Tuesday's practice and wanted to remain on special teams as a kick and punt returner. "I believe I'll be good to go back there," Woods said. "I'm just banged up. All these big hits. I've got to step things up again." Kiffin, who is known to be overly pessimistic about injuries, said he could not rely on Woods to determine his health. "He'll say he is ready no matter what," Kiffin said. Would Kiffin believe Kelly if he said one of his top players might miss the game? "I don't have to worry about that," Kiffin said. "Chip doesn't talk about injuries. He's not nice to media like I am." Farmer still at tailback If Woods were limited, a natural replacement could be freshman George Farmer, who was a receiver in high school but was moved by Kiffin to tailback earlier this season. But Kiffin said he would not move Farmer to receiver. "It's too hard to move him back," Kiffin said. New attitude USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron said he feels confident because of the Trojans' attitude the past two weeks. "We're going to play our best," he said. "The team has gotten better. The attitude is better. There's an attention to detail in the meetings now. We felt a sense of urgency against Washington." Stopping Oregon Orgeron said teams like Auburn and LSU defeated Oregon the past two seasons because of big linemen who could make tackles near the line of scrimmage. "The first guy made the tackle," Orgeron said. "When you don't do that, you are in space and get spread out and (tailback) LaMichael James makes big runs." Kiffin dismissed the idea of emulating anything LSU did in its season-opening victory over the Ducks. "LSU may be the best team (in the country) and have one of the great defenses of all time," he said.