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October 5, 2013

'Cookie Monster' happy with the change

One of the first orders of business for interim head coach Ed Orgeron was to bring back deserts to the training table. Nose tackle Antwaun Woods, also known as the 'Cookie Monster,' couldn't be happier with the decision.

"The cookies are great," Woods said after practice. "I feel like it is nothing too serious, nothing to really change the team, but it's a little gift. I like cookies like coach said, so everything is great."

Following the devastating loss to Arizona State, Orgeron has come in and energized the team, boosting morale and getting players excited to play football again.

"Yeah, that's Coach O. That's what he brings to the table," Woods said. "He's very energetic and we know, now that he's the head coach, he's looking for energy out of all of us and that we're ready to compete."

Woods and his defensive lineman teammates went from having an offensive-centric head coach in Lane Kiffin to their position coach taking over as the head man.

"It's pretty cool that's he's become the head coach, but nothing's changed," he said. "He's still the same person. He still expects the same from us every day. We gotta get better."

While Orgeron has taken over extra responsibilities at practice, he has made sure to give the defensive lineman all the attention they had before the coaching change.

"We understand his duties as a head coach now," Woods sad. "Head coaches have to do a different job, but we still have the same practices and we still came out with the same attitude."

Thursday's practice was named 'Trojan Ball' by Orgeron and was something brand new for the USC players. Borrowing from a tradition he learned about in Miami, Orgeron gave the regular players a day off during the bye week and allowed them to be coaches for a day. He offered no specific instructions and he kept it loose by not incorporating any rules.

"All he told us was to play 'Trojan Ball' and have a good time," Woods said. "Just come out here playing and work the plan. Play Trojan ball, have fun."

Woods, naturally, coached the position he knew best.

"Oh, I was an assistant d-line coach," he said. "My guys played well. The star of the day was Kenny Bigelow. No, no, no. I take that back. Delvon Simmons, he's the star of the day, in my opinion."

While Woods and the rest of the starters were coaching on the sidelines, they carried footballs tucked high and tight in their arms. Throughout practice players would sneak up behind their teammates trying to punch the football out.

"It's all about the ball," he said. "So, if you see us always having one, it's because it's all about the ball. It's kind of a thing we made up ourselves, everybody is gonna try and knock it out. Just trying to make it a habit."

Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates on the Trojan football team getting ready to host Arizona Thursday night.




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