Coach Paul Hackett has dismissed receiver Quincy Woods, safety Darnell Lacy and offensive lineman Robby Wood from the USC football team and has suspended starting defensive end Shamsud-Din Abdul-Shaheed and linebacker Darryl Knight for the season opener for "failure to uphold team standards."
Academic shortcomings led to the suspensions of Woods, Abdul-Shaheed and Knight during spring practice, one year after Lacy and star receiver R. Jay Soward were suspended for a game for similar reasons, and Hackett's latest move is related, although the school is prohibited from commenting because of privacy concerns.
The Trojans should be able to weather the suspensions in their Sept. 4 opener against Hawaii, which was 0-12 last season, but the loss of Woods undermines USC's very limited depth at receiver. Lacy was a potential starter at free safety, a position that now figures to be handled by Ifeanyi Ohalete.
Nian Taylor, Washington State's top receiver who was elected a team co-captain last week, was arrested in Pullman for investigation of domestic assault.
Quarterback Steve DeBerg, 45, retired from the NFL again and has been named the Atlanta Falcons' quarterbacks coach. After first retiring in 1993, DeBerg returned for his 18th year in the NFL last season as its oldest active player and second-oldest in history behind former Oakland Raiders quarterback/kicker George Blanda, who played until he was 48. DeBerg completed 30 of 59 passes last season for 369 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
DeBerg, a graduate of Savanna High, ranks 13th in NFL history with 34,241 passing yards and is tied for ninth in completions with 2,874 in 5,024 attempts.