Notebook: Thursday Practice

Leonard Williams

USC held its second practice in El Paso on Thursday as it continues to prepare to play Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl on New Years Eve.

Late late late
Pesky drama followed USC from Los Angeles to El Paso this week. The Trojans were scheduled to attend a dinner on Wednesday evening alongside their Sun Bowl opponent, Georgia Tech. Instead, both teams found themselves dining alone.

A Georgia Tech official sent out the following tweet Wednesday from the dinner, "What's missing from the Sun Bowl BBQ? USC. Tech has been here an hour, finished eating, and no Trojans in sight."

Georgia Tech then proceeded to leave the event ahead of schedule, just as the USC buses were pulling in.

A USC official said Thurday morning that the Trojans arrived 30-minutes past their originally scheduled arrival time, not the hour to hour and a half that had been circulating on Twitter.

USC Coach Lane Kiffin offered his apologies after practice on Thursday, citing a long string of events throughout the day that caused the Trojans to be late to dinner, including delays leaving Los Angeles, an unexpected event at the El Paso airport, which in turn caused the Trojans to start and finish practice late.

"There was no disrespect meant by it or anything like that," Kiffin said. "Obviously the bowl people were there with us, traveling with us to it as well, so we apologize if we offended anybody but that's not at all what was going on."

Kiffin said as of Thursday after practice, he had not addressed the matter with Georgia Tech.

More apologies
USC might find itself playing in front of a Sun Bowl crowd donning Navy and gold on Saturday if they continue to use social media to knock on the city of El Paso.

The first offender was senior Tony Burnett, who took to his Twitter account after the Trojans were announced to attend the Sun Bowl.

Late Wednesday night it was freshman Leonard Williams who chose to share his choice words about the city of El Paso on his Twitter feed.

For the second time in as many weeks, Kiffin apologized for his players actions while emphasizing the individual's views don't reflect those of the coaching staff and team.

"We talk at length, we bring people in for it, we talk about it, and we address it," Kiffin said of handling the social-media miscues with his players. "You get 110 kids and unfortunately they screw up, just like all kids do. This is a true freshman who made a mistake and it doesn't speak to the way he feels about it."

Quick Hits
Senior quarterback Matt Barkley will not be cleared by team doctors to play in the Sun Bowl…Redshirt-freshman quarterback Max Wittek will make his second career start…George Farmer attended practice but did not participate in drills on Thursday…Junior receiver Robert Woods will announce his decision to return to USC or enter the NFL after Monday's game...USC visited Fort Bliss after practice to meet with Troops stationed in El Paso.

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