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College Football Daily Report / USC

Opponents Concentrate on Soward

November 05, 1998|TIM KAWAKAMI

Flanker R. Jay Soward, the Trojans' most dangerous offensive threat, has almost disappeared from sight--he was held to one reception for 16 yards Saturday against Washington and had only three receptions two weeks ago against Oregon.

Soward, though, says that if defenses are going to double-team him as much as the Ducks and Huskies did, split ends Billy Miller and Windrell Hayes are going to have plenty of room to run.

Miller had five catches and a touchdown against Washington, which lifted him to 33 receptions--passing Soward (who has 27) for the team lead.

"It's hard to get open when they're sending two or three guys at you every time," Soward said. "But that's OK, because our other receivers are playing great. I think we've got the best corps of receivers in the country.

"And when you keep two guys with me, the other guys are going to kill teams. You can't stop Billy Miller with one guy. No way. He'll make a lot of plays if they keep doing that.

"And Windrell Hayes, we call him 'Scissors' because he has the best cuts in college football. Both of those guys are so big and so strong, you can't defend them with a safety. They're going to make the plays. And maybe if they keep making [them], those safeties will start going over to them, and I'll be able to make plays again."

Coach Paul Hackett said his offense--with newly installed full-time quarterback Carson Palmer--is going to have to adjust to defenses doing anything they can to stop Soward.

"It hurts not having R. Jay the last two weeks being who he can be," Hackett said. "We've got to find ways to do that. But by the same token, this is a well-coached conference. . . .

"The fact is that if a team wants to take somebody away, we've got to give them their due. They can do it to a certain point. We then have to respond with Chad Morton, Billy Miller, Windrell, Larry Parker, whoever it may be."

*

The anticipated weeklong kicking contest between slumping starter Adam Abrams and sophomore backup David Bell was put on hold when Bell came down with a bruised foot after Tuesday's workout and was unable to kick Wednesday.

"So where do you think we're at with it now?" Hackett said with a shrug.

Abrams took all the kicks, and, even though it wasn't under the pressure of a direct contest, impressed Hackett.

"He hit the ball very well--banged it right down the middle," Hackett said.

*

Tailback Chad Morton, nursing a sore ankle injured at the end of last Saturday's victory over Washington, was held out of practice for precautionary purposes, Hackett said, but is expected to be ready for this weekend's game at Stanford. . . . Fullback Ted Iacenda also missed practice after aggravating a shoulder injury first incurred in training camp. . . . Former NFL standout defensive linemen Bubba Smith and Tommy Hart attended practice.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Next Up for USC

Who: Stanford

Where: at Palo Alto

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV: Ch. 9

Radio: XTRA (690)

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