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USC's Lane Kiffin compares cornerback Nickell Robey to Troy Polamalu

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Lane Kiffin heaped some big praise on Nickell Robey over the weekend, comparing the sophomore corner to one of the greatest defensive backs to ever suit up for the Trojans, Troy Polamalu.

"I'm not saying he's the player Troy Polamalu was," Kiffin said of Robey, "but he (has) the same attitude and work ethic," Kiffin said following Saturday's practice.

"I think he's just exactly the way we describe a Trojan, what we're looking for -- from academics to handling himself off the field to weight room to training to nutrition to practice habits. I could be mistaken, but I can't recall the last time he even missed a rep."

Kiffin's comments echo similar ones made by secondary coach Willie Mack Garza, who talked about Robey's "pure dedication and commitment" during last year's fall practice.

Simply put, Robey is doing the little things, the necessary things to seperate the good from the great.

Previously a Georgia commit, the 5-foot-8 Robey was part of Kiffin's inaugural recruiting class and proved to be an invaluable pickup for USC in his first season, holding down the starting corner job opposite Shareece Wright and leading the team in interceptions (4) in 2010.

With Wright's departure (he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers), Robey will take over as the team's No.1 corner and already has looked the part of a potential All-Conference player through the spring and the early part of fall practice.

Who will start opposite of Robey remains to be seen, but walk-on Tony Burnett, red-shirt sophomore Torin Harris and redshirt freshman Anthony Brown are all in play for the position.

© 2011 Neal J. Leitereg -- All Rights Reserved

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