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College Football | USC REPORT

This Movie Gets a Big Thumbs-Up

November 20, 2001|David Wharton

USC players spent Monday watching one of the best movies they have seen all year--game film of their victory over UCLA.

"It was really fun," safety DeShaun Hill said. "The whole time, we were cheering."

After that, Coach Pete Carroll gave them a holiday gift. His bowl-bound team will continue to lift weights but is not expected back on the practice field until Nov. 29, a week from Thursday.

Athletic department officials had been under the impression they could not start practicing until three weeks before their postseason game. In fact, that was a Rose Bowl agreement between the Pac-10 and Big Ten. The Trojans can continue working out the standard 20 hours a week.

At first, much of that time will be spent near the end of each week so coaches can take recruiting trips. On Monday afternoon, they were running from one office to another, talking on the phone to various prospects. Once the recruiting period ends, in mid-December, the team will resume its daily practices.

"We'll get a lot of work in," Carroll said. "This is a great time to develop."

USC is still expected to go to the Las Vegas Bowl on Christmas Day, but the conference postseason picture remains a little murky.

With Oregon set to play in the Fiesta Bowl, if not a better game, Washington has accepted a contingency invitation to the Holiday Bowl. Sun Bowl officials said they will extend an invitation to Washington State. The Seattle Bowl is leaning toward 7-2 Stanford, which has games remaining against Notre Dame and San Jose State.

But if Washington gets into the BCS mix, everyone rises a notch, which will put USC in Seattle.

"Any bowl would be a reward in itself," tight end Kori Dickerson said. "We came back from a lot of adversity this season and this is just a chance to keep playing."

If the Trojans end up in Las Vegas, their opponent will come from the Mountain West Conference. With BYU probably headed to the Liberty Bowl, USC probably gets Utah. Colorado State, New Mexico and maybe even Air Force are also possible foes.

A number of USC players said they would love to spend the holidays in Las Vegas and bowl officials seemed equally enthusiastic.

"It if turns out to be USC, that would be great," Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. "Watching what Pete Carroll and his troops have done these last five weeks, it's been exciting football."

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