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Inside College Football | USC REPORT

They're Waiting for Polamalu in Manhattan

September 19, 2002|Gary Klein

USC players anticipate a hostile environment when they travel to No. 25 Kansas State on Saturday, and All-American safety Troy Polamalu will be the main target for abuse from Wildcat players and fans.

"Oh, yeah, there might be a bounty on him," Kansas State junior linebacker Josh Buhl told the Kansas City Star in Wednesday's editions. "There's a lot of revenge going on."

In last season's 10-6 loss to Kansas State at the Coliseum, Polamalu leveled punt returner Aaron Lockett with a helmet-to-facemask shot as Lockett prepared to field a kick in the third quarter. The Trojans were penalized 15 yards for the hit.

Polamalu later apologized to Lockett, who no longer plays for the Wildcats. Polamalu reiterated again Wednesday that he meant no harm.

"It was in the heat of the moment and I was just trying to hustle down there," he said. "I was trying to give him as little room as possible and I made a huge misjudgment. I've put it behind me."

Polamalu, who made a team-high 11 tackles Saturday against Colorado, said he would not be watching his back against Kansas State.

"If they try to block me any differently, somebody else will make the play," he said.

*

USC's offensive linemen were full of energy at practice Wednesday after quarterback Carson Palmer took them out to dinner the night before.

Palmer, a fifth-year senior, treated linemen in years past but never this early in the season.

Palmer, who was sacked 36 times last season, has been sacked only once in victories over Auburn and Colorado.

"I would like to do it, if I could afford to, every week, but those guys can really eat," Palmer said. "They need to be rewarded for the way they are playing and allowing us to move the ball and win games."

Junior tackle Jacob Rogers was grateful. "If we can continue to keep his jersey clean, I'm sure he'll appreciate that," Rogers said.

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A statue of USC's famed 1969 defensive line known as the "Wild Bunch" is on display outside Heritage Hall.

The statue, featuring images of Charles Weaver, Al Cowlings, Willard "Bubba" Scott, Tody Smith and Jimmy Gunn, was created by Don Winton and Ernie Shelton, a former USC high jumper.

"It's nice to see some defensive linemen get some love around here," sophomore defensive end Kenechi Udeze said. "I hope maybe one day they'll think about us in 40 or 50 years."

*

Ryan Killeen got more opportunities with the field-goal unit, but Coach Pete Carroll said David Davis would still be the first kicker if the Kansas State game were today. Carroll said the competition would continue today.... Receiver Mike Williams completed about half of practice before sitting out because of back spasms, Carroll said.

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