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Inside College Football | USC REPORT

Matua Will Be Used if Necessary

November 14, 2002|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

With USC's offensive line suddenly short-handed because of injury, Fred Matua again saw his status change Wednesday.

Matua, a freshman from Wilmington who was on track to start the season opener at right guard, was expected to redshirt after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Oct. 3.

But when left guard Lenny Vandermade decided Tuesday to have surgery for a torn tendon in his right biceps, Matua was thrust back into several possible scenarios.

Said USC Coach Pete Carroll: "I wouldn't put him in just to put him in. I'd put him in to play a lot and count on him to help us win.

"We'll wait till the end of the week to figure it out."

Matua was injured before the opener against Auburn but played in that game and briefly against Kansas State. He said he would give up a redshirt season to help the Trojans down the stretch.

"Right now, you don't want to be selfish," Matua said. "There's no more linemen left. When someone goes down, I have to step up.

"It's not my choice anymore. It's for the team now. If you want to go all the way, you sacrifice for the team."

Junior Eric Torres will start for Vandermade against Arizona State, but he is also the primary backup for tackles Winston Justice and Jacob Rogers. If either player were injured, Torres would move to tackle.

Carroll said he would possibly replace Torres by moving center Norm Katnik to guard and replacing him with senior Derek Graf, who started the opener at right guard.

Redshirt sophomore Travis Watkins could also play guard if necessary, Carroll said.


Receiver Mike Williams, nursing a sprained left ankle, made it through most of practice and is expected to play against Arizona State.... Reserve cornerback William Buchanon did not practice again because of a neck strain and Carroll said he was comfortable with freshman Justin Wyatt playing in his place.... USC's game against Notre Dame on Nov. 30 at the Coliseum is sold out.... Carson Palmer is among 14 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien award, presented to the nation's top quarterback. Finalists will be announced Dec. 2.

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