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New kicker enables USC to dial long distance

USC coach Lane Kiffin praised the leg strength of his new kicker, Andre Heidari, who has range beyond 50 yards. But Kiffin added this caveat about the freshman from Bakersfield:

"He's never done it, just like the last guy hadn't. Until we get in there, we'll never know."


The next field goal Heidari attempts in a college game will be his first. He never has kicked in front of 90,000 fans either, but he has some idea what it will feel like when USC opens the season Sept. 3 against Minnesota.

"I've been talking to the guys about it. They said it's crazy in the Coliseum. It's just crazy wherever you go," Heidari said Friday. "I'm just going to have to get used to it. I'm looking forward to it. ... Just block it out and try to do your thing."

Heidari has displayed both strength and accuracy during the Trojans' fall camp. His predecessor, Joe Houston, made 10 of 16 field-goal attempts last season but was just 1 of 4 from 40 yards and beyond. He did not attempt a field goal from 50-plus.

How Heidari fares early in the season probably will determine how much confidence Kiffin shows in him from long distance. Heidari has plenty of self-confidence after working with special-teams coach John Baxter since the start of spring practice.

"The other day we looked at some video. We saw the first day of spring when I first got here. I'm a totally different kicker," said Heidari, who enrolled in January. "It doesn't look like the same guy."




There's a widely hold notion that USC isn't doing anything in response to the NCAA, despite the perceived unfairness of the governing body's ruling in the school's infractions case.

USC athletic director Pat Haden gets asked that very question all the time: "Why aren't you doing something?"

Here's what he said on that subject Friday:

"We're not idiots. The university has looked at every alternative. Period."

Haden couldn't specify what further action, if any, USC would take.




Three important starters — left tackle Matt Kalil, safety T.J. McDonald and receiver Robert Woods — returned to duty after missing time because of injuries. ... Middle linebacker Chris Galippo (shoulder) worked in individual and 7-on-7 drills but again was held out of contact. ... Safety Drew McAllister missed about half of practice after injuring his left hand. ... Redshirt sophomore Simione Vehikite, who had been playing linebacker, worked with the fullbacks.




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USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Kiffin scales back practice
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USC football: Farmer misses practice, falls behind
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USC Football: How Dynamic Can the Trojans Be on Offense This Season?
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USC Football: New Trojans RB Silas Redd Should Let His Play Do All the Talking
Met by a large group of reporters, the first practice has come and gone for the USC Trojans. They weren't there to see head coach Lane Kiffin or really any other player for that matter; they were there for Penn State transfer Silas Redd. The running back thanked the group for wanting to talk to him, per the Los Angeles Times , and divulged a little information about his first practice as a ...

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USC opened practice Monday at Howard Jones Field, but with 18 commitments the Trojans virtually are done recruiting for 2013.

USC Football: Trojans Should Be Pleased with No. 3 Ranking in Coaches Poll
Let Alabama and LSU duke it out, Trojans. Being ranked No. 3 by USA Today is something to be happy about. When USC quarterback Matt Barkley was named the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy for 2012 , many believed the honor would do more harm than good. Call it superstition but fans grew concerned that Barkley would be set up to lose the Heisman, similar to former Stanford quarterback ...

USC Trojans appear to have the horses for a national-title run
USC begins preseason practice Monday ranked No. 3 in USA Today coaches' poll. Here are six potential keys to a season the Trojans hope ends in the BCS title game. Most of the pieces appear to be in place.

USC FOOTBALL: As camp starts, happy days appear to be here again
USC holds its first football practice tonight in a different position than the past two years. The Trojans finally are bowl eligible again and ranked in the top two in most preseason polls.

Top 25 USC Football Players of All Time: Cardinal and Gold Tradition
There have been a lot of great USC football players to come through the program over the years.