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Stanley Can't Shoulder Load

November 17, 2000|BILL SHAIKIN

Fullback Matt Stanley fulfilled one dream last year, when he made his first career start at Ohio State. Another dream will be deferred, because Stanley will not start Saturday against USC.

Stanley grew up in Columbus, home of the Buckeyes, but walked on at UCLA so he could play football for the Bruins just as his father had. In his third year in the program, on the same day he started at Columbus, Coach Bob Toledo awarded him a scholarship.

Stanley did not start another game last season, but he won a starting job this season. He suffered a separated shoulder against Michigan in the season's third game. The shoulder still isn't completely healed, and Stanley said he is considering off-season surgery to tighten ligaments and tendons stretched when the shoulder was injured.

In Stanley's absence, Ed Ieremia-Stansbury won the job, with Stanley limited to reserve duty upon his return.

"My main job is to hit people, and when you have a bad shoulder, you're very limited in doing so," Stanley said. "I am disappointed in how the year has gone, but I'll be back and ready for next year."

Back home, Stanley said, he is unable to convince his friends that the UCLA-USC game, or any other, could be bigger than the Ohio State-Michigan game.

"I always explain to people this way: Imagine if Michigan and Ohio State were in the same city, and that's the magnitude of it," Stanley said. "But they still think they have the biggest rivalry game."

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