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Holmes, Guenther Split Time

September 06, 2002|Gary Klein

Tight ends Alex Holmes and Gregg Guenther went into USC's season opener against Auburn listed as co- No. 1s on the depth chart.

Each blocked adequately in the Trojans' 24-17 victory--and each failed to catch a pass. Guenther dropped a ball. Holmes did not grab one Trojan coaches thought was within reach.

The competition for the majority of playing time continues.

"We'll just go and keep splitting it until something separates them," USC Coach Pete Carroll said Thursday.

Holmes, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound junior, caught 22 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns last season. Guenther, a 6-8, 245-pound redshirt sophomore, was recovering from back surgery most of last season and did not play in any games.

"I got excited because I knew I had a little room to run, but I tried to run without the ball and that's the first thing you can't do," Guenther said of his first-quarter drop. "So it's a lesson learned.

"It's not going to happen again."


Redshirt sophomore Matt Cassel appeared on track to unseat redshirt sophomore Matt Leinart as the No. 2 quarterback before cornerbacks Marcell Allmond and Justin Wyatt intercepted passes thrown by Cassel during drills.

"Matt Cassel struggled out there today and Matt Leinart looked pretty good," Carroll said.

Competition at quarterback, cornerback and along the offensive and defensive lines will continue today before the Trojans take Saturday and Sunday off.

Carroll is particularly concerned about depth at defensive end. Junior college transfers Daniel Urquhart and Van Brown remain works in progress as backups to Kenechi Udeze and Omar Nazel.

"We're kind of holding our breath a little bit until one of those guys takes over and really knows what he's doing," Carroll said.


With Keary Colbert resting a sore knee and Mike Williams slowed by back spasms, receiver Jason Mitchell made the most of his opportunities, catching several long passes and making an impressive run on a reverse.... Senior tailback Justin Fargas received treatment for his hamstring strain, ran a series of light sprints and performed stretching exercises on the track that circles the playing surface at Cromwell Field. Fargas said he would be ready to practice next week.

Senior offensive lineman Zach Wilson wore a sneaker instead of the protective boot that encased his left foot since suffering a strain on the first day of training camp. Wilson, who is expected to return to practice next week, said he gave the device the boot. "I've been in and out of it for the past week or so--this time I'm permanently out of it," Wilson said. "I'm tired of walking on that thing."

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