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It's Only a Passing Memory

USC NOTES

October 25, 2000|DAVID WHARTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cornerback Kevin Arbet was not looking forward to practice on Tuesday, his first time in pads since getting beat for the game-winning touchdown in last weekend's loss to Stanford.

But it wasn't as difficult as he feared.

"As soon as we started practice," he said, "I forgot about it."

The sophomore has gone over the play in his mind "about a million times," recalling how Stanford receiver Jamien McCullum caught a 20-yard touchdown pass against him with no time remaining.

He wanted to remember so that next time would be different. "When I saw where he lined up, I should have been a little more outside and I should have deepened up," he said.

But he also wanted to forget.

Some of his teammates offered words of encouragement the last few days. Others gave Arbet his space.

"He's young," junior Kris Richard said. "This is a learning experience."

*

As the extra-point team lined up for practice, a player on the defensive side of the ball spoke in a deep, announcer's voice: "USC has been struggling with extra points . . ."

Sure enough, the attempt was blocked. Though John Wall made his next two kicks, the memory of two misses against Stanford had coaches talking about going for two points.

"That's fun," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. Then, as if recalling the Trojans also missed a two-point conversion last Saturday, he amended his statement: "It's fun when you make it."

*

Defensive lineman Lonnie Ford and safety Ifeanyi Ohalete were scheduled for medical tests to determine if they can play Saturday against California. Offensive tackle Brent McCaffrey had to sit out the last part of practice because of a knee injury but is expected to play.

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