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SPORTS WEEKEND | COLLEGE FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT / USC

Soward Gets an Earful Too

October 09, 1998|ROBYN NORWOOD

R. Jay Soward's performances are fueled by emotion--for better and for worse--and he got a talking-to after receiving a taunting penalty for tossing the football at Arizona State's Mitchell Freedman after catching a touchdown pass last week.

"You know who--Coach [Paul] Hackett," Soward said. "He gave it to me kind of hard, and told me I'm a better player than that.

"I agree with him totally. I never planned to do it. It just happened."

Minutes later, Soward understood how much he might have cost the team when the extra-point attempt--about a 35-yarder after the 15-yard penalty--was blocked.

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Tailback Chad Morton's back is showing improvement, and he plans to run today in hopes he might be able to play Saturday.

X-rays indicated nothing beyond a lumbar contusion caused by a hit during a touchdown run against Florida State--an injury trainers say is unrelated to the back strain Morton suffered lifting weights.

Should Morton still be hampered next week, Hackett said he'll consider options at tailback--perhaps even cornerback Daylon McCutcheon, something Hackett has been strongly against.

"One [possibility] certainly is Daylon," Hackett said. "Another is Sultan McCullough [who is slated to redshirt]. If [Morton] misses this game but will be ready next week, I don't want to do anything."

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In a change at offensive tackle, Ken Bowen is scheduled to start ahead of Matt Welch. Hackett said Bowen's play has improved and that Welch missed a practice because of a sore shoulder. . . . On the defensive line, sophomore tackle Ennis Davis' performance against Arizona State is some comfort with Marc Matock lost to ankle surgery: Davis blocked a field goal, forced a fumble, broke up a pass, and had a sack and another tackle for a loss. Davis and Aaron Williams will start at tackle, with Ryan Nielsen and Bobby DeMars in the rotation. Darren Collins, also a tackle, could play but is a redshirt candidate.

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