Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTES

Simmons' Return Lifts USC Practice

August 22, 2000|BEN BOLCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Antuan Simmons still knows how to steal a show.

The USC cornerback may not have blocked kicks or returned interceptions for touchdowns Monday at the Trojans' training camp at UC Irvine, but he energized teammates by attending practice for the first time this season.

"It was an inspirational experience to see Antuan Simmons back," Hackett said. "He's a great, great warrior. And now he's back with a smile on his face, ready to go to New York. Now our team is complete."

Simmons, who was expected to play a starring role for USC's defense this season, is sitting out while recovering from operations to remove tumors from his abdomen. That doesn't mean the senior won't try to play an important role, though.

"I think I can talk to [the secondary] about their mistakes," he said. "I know they're going to get beat sometimes and come back to the sideline with their heads down. I'm going to try to get their heads back in the game."

He can speak from experience. Simmons blocked six kicks and made seven interceptions in his three years as a starter until sitting out the final two games of last season with a herniated disk in his lower back.

Simmons, who will be redshirted this season, said he plans to start working out again next week.

Said Hackett: "I anticipate by spring he'll be back to where he needs to be."

*

Hackett said the Trojans should be back at full strength today with the exception of offensive lineman Trevor Roberts, who has a strained foot.

"If something doesn't give soon," Hackett said, "he'll probably miss the [Penn State] game."

*

Hackett said he expects 6-10 freshmen to make the trip to New Jersey. Safety Matt Grootegoed, quarterback Matt Cassel and offensive lineman Joe McGuire are considered locks. . . . Santa Ana Mater Dei quarterback Matt Leinart, who threw for 2,273 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior, said he would attend USC next year.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|