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USC to Open Practice With 14 Starters Back

March 22, 1997|EARL GUSTKEY

USC begins spring football practice this morning at 11, leading up to its April 19 spring game.

In the fifth season of his second USC term, Coach John Robinson has eight returning starters on offense and six on defense from a team that went 6-6.

The most-watched position battle this spring will be at quarterback, where sophomores John Fox and Quincy Woods and freshman Mike Van Raaphorst are competing to replace the graduated Brad Otton. Fox and Van Raaphorst are tall, strong-armed dropback passers. Woods is a mobile, Rodney Peete-style option quarterback.

Three major defensive holes must be filled: at one linebacker position, where graduated Sammy Knight led the team in tackles the last two years; and at tackle, where Darrell Russell has left early for the NFL and Matt Keneley has graduated.

The Trojans' opener is Sept. 6 at the Coliseum against Florida State.

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