On Monday morning, USC began its on-field preparations for the Crosstown Showdown at the Rose Bowl Saturday. While the practice was not open to the media, the Los Angeles Times reported that two important players were dressed for the practice.
Freshman tight end Bryce Dixon, who did not dress for the game against the California Golden Bears on Thursday because of a "student conduct issue" according to USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, was dressed for practice when the Trojans entered Howard Jones Field Monday morning.
In his weekly day-after-game phone conference with reporters, which occurred Friday evening, Sarkisian said he didn't have anything yet, but added, "Hopefully we'll have something soon for you guys but nothing yet."
In Dixon's absence, the Trojans had just one scholarship tight end, senior tight end Randall Telfer, available against Cal. Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is academically ineligible for the season and walk-on Chris Willson, who wasn't expected to contribute significantly, broke his foot in the Fresno State game and is likely in line for a medical hardship waiver.
On Thursday, the Trojans used offensive lineman Nathan Guertler as a blocking tight end at times -- something he also did last season.
Monday morning's practice also saw the return of an important player on the end of the line on defense. Rush end J.R. Tavai was suited up for practice for the first time since suffering a knee sprain in the Trojans' loss to Utah on October 25.
With Tavai out, USC has leaned on Scott Felix and Greg Townsend Jr. more while Charles Burks and Quinton Powell have also seen extra playing time.
We should have more information about both Dixon and Tavai tomorrow when practice is open to the media.