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USC REPORT

Campaign Begins for Palmer

October 31, 2002|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC will step up its Heisman Trophy campaign for quarterback Carson Palmer this weekend when it mails and e-mails a color picture postcard highlighting his achievements to national media outlets.

The promo is a "V.I.P. Pass" to "The Carson Show," and features an action photo of Palmer with statistical information on the back. USC also is adding a special Palmer link to its Web site and, with the Trojans in a bye week, Palmer is scheduled to appear on ESPN's "Game Day" show on Saturday.

Palmer said Wednesday that he would not be distracted by the Heisman buzz.

"I'm not worried or even thinking about it," he said. "I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing. It shouldn't affect me because I'm not going to pay much attention to it."

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Reserves and players expected to redshirt will receive the bulk of the playing time tonight when the Trojans scrimmage in what Coach Pete Carroll calls a Halloween Bowl.

Carroll said he is especially looking forward to evaluating such players as redshirt linebackers Frostee Rucker and Lofa Tatupu and freshmen linemen Kyle Williams, Chris Doyle and Kurt Katnik.

Tatupu, the son of former USC fullback Mosi Tatupu, welcomes the opportunity after transferring to USC from Maine.

"Coming from Maine to a real football school has been great," he said. "Back there, it's all hockey."

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Defensive end Doyal Butler, who backed up Omar Nazel against Oregon and recorded a sack, said tonight's scrimmage is one more chance to improve.

"I'm nowhere near as good as I can be yet," said Butler, who switched from tight end to defensive line at the end of training camp. "I took a big step in the right direction last week and now I have a week and a half to get ready to do something the next game."

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USC assistants will spend much of today recruiting before returning for practice. Carroll will be on the road recruiting on Friday and Saturday.... Redshirt quarterback Brandon Hance, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, will take snaps for the service team next week, Carroll said. Hance is not expected to throw passes until possibly the following week.... Offensive tackle Jacob Rogers did not practice to rest his right knee.... Cornerback Justin Wyatt did not practice because of a stomach virus.

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