Zone read: Robert Woods’ inflamed ankle will keep him out of USC’s spring

The Zone Read is your college football primer (that appears where there's news to share) to make you seem like the smartest person at the water cooler even if you're not.

Robert Woods surgically repaired ankle isn't healing as quickly as USC coach Lane Kiffin had hoped.

A couple weeks ago, Kiffin said he thought Woods, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle in mid-December, would be back for the second week of spring football. However, during spring break last week, Woods had an MRI that revealed an inflammation and team doctors recommended that he miss the rest of the spring.

"He's kind of had a setback," Kiffin said Tuesday. "It's not healing as fast."

Woods originally injured the ankle last April while playing pickup basketball and the injury got worse as the season went on. You wouldn't know Woods was hobbled by his play. He finished the year with 11 catches for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was the second-leading receiver in the Pac-12 and eighth-best receiver in the country.

Can't wait to see what he looks like when he's healthy.

Woods said that while he wanted to participate in spring football, he wants to make sure his ankle heals so that he's at 100 percent in the fall.

"I just don't want to deal with this season how it was last year," he said. "This time off should be pretty good for me."

Looking for a few good quarterbacks: Brian Kelly isn't ready to name a starter at Notre Dame and insists his quarterbacks will have to go through an interview process of sorts to earn the job.

Kelly said he's looking for a quarterback who can run the Irish's spread offense while taking care of the football. Tommy Rees, who became the starter during the second game of last season, threw 20 touchdowns, but also had 14 interceptions. Notre Dame ranked 118th nationally in turnover margin.

"We threw way too many interceptions last year for me to be comfortable with," Kelly said. "I'm not used to seeing that kind of turnover rate and it certainly affected our won-loss record."

Because of the inconsistency, Rees is now in a four-man battle for the starting role with junior Andrew Hendrix, who played spot time a year ago, sophomore Everett Golson, who didn't play, and highly-touted recruit Gunner Kiel, who joined the program in January.

"If we started the spring with page 50 of the playbook, Tommy would be ahead of everybody. So not to put him at a disadvantage but to give it an equal footing for all, we've kind of scaled it back so the spring, it's going to give all the quarterbacks, including a midyear in Gunner and of course the two young guys, an opportunity to truly compete for the position," Kelly said

Change of heart: South Carolina two-sport athlete Bruce Ellington decided last week that he was leaving football to concentrate solely on basketball. But after basketball coach Darrin Horn was fired, Ellington is having a change of heart.

"If he wants to play both, let's go play both. If he wants to pick one and go out, he has that choice," Spurrier said on his weekly radio show Monday. "We want him to play football if he wants to, definitely. We don't want football if his heart is in basketball. Let's really think this thing out thoroughly."

Ellington was kind of a jack-of-all-trades for the Gamecocks last season. He finished third on the team in receiving yards, sixth in rushing and first in kick return yardage. The Gamecocks are a little thin at receiver and running back, so Ellington's potential return could solve some of those problems.

Random video of the day:

Sticky notes: Intent could be the difference in the sentence for Northern Illinois linebacker Jamaal Bass, who assaulted two Toledo band members during a game last year… North Dakota State is especially proud of its FCS national title this year because it came with no FBS transfers on the roster… Virginia Tech linebacker Tariq Edwards will miss 3-4 weeks after leg surgery… Oregon and Michigan State ink a home-and-home deal for the 2014-15 seasons… And Colorado State coach Jim McElwain still hasn't signed his contract.

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