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SPORTS WEEKEND | COLLEGE FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT / USC

This Area Needs Some Kick

November 03, 2000|DAVID WHARTON

In a week when Coach Paul Hackett challenged a number of his players, punter Mike MacGillivray was served notice in no uncertain terms.

"We're in the same boat we were in a year ago," Hackett said Thursday. "Our punting is not very good."

MacGillivray ranks fifth in the conference with a 39.9-yard average but shanked a critical punt against Stanford and hit a low punt that California returned 83 yards for a touchdown.

The junior has no competition on the team at this time. Hackett said that could change next season.

"It's a great opportunity for someone to come here as a punter," he said.

*

Linebacker Markus Steele will not travel to Arizona State, remaining home to tend to his injured ankle. The medical staff has diagnosed the injury as a high sprain, the type that takes longer to heal.

A similar injury kept offensive lineman Trevor Roberts out of the lineup earlier this season. It has kept center Eric Denmon on the sideline for a month.

Denmon improved this week and will travel with the team but is not expected to play. The same is true for cornerback Darrell Rideaux.

Starting offensive linemen Brent McCaffrey and Zach Wilson returned to practice Thursday.

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Playing at Arizona State usually means warm weather. But with the forecast calling for showers this weekend, USC spent Thursday preparing for stormy conditions.

The quarterbacks practiced with wet footballs. So did the kickers.

Hackett expressed concern about inclement weather but believes it would affect both teams.

"We're like them," he said. "We don't get a lot of rain games."

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