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USC REPORT

Fletcher Will Help at Receiver

September 27, 2002|Gary Klein

Dropped passes by receivers hurt USC last week against Kansas State.

On Thursday, the Trojan receiving corps was hurting for healthy bodies.

Wide receivers Kareem Kelly and Mike Williams are at full strength, and flanker Keary Colbert is fit enough for Saturday's Pacific 10 Conference opener against No. 23 Oregon State.

But Jason Mitchell, who might have a stress fracture in his back, will not play. And Grant Mattos, who strained an abdominal muscle, is doubtful.

Coaches addressed the depth problem by moving junior safety Sandy Fletcher back to offense.

Fletcher switched from receiver to safety during training camp. He is a regular on special teams and played as a reserve safety against Auburn and Colorado.

"At the end of team meeting, they said, 'We need you on offense,' " said Fletcher, who caught two passes last season. "I'm all for whatever it takes to win."

Walk-on receiver Greig Carlson, who returned punts last week against Kansas State, also might play on offense against Oregon State.

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Ryan Killeen and David Davis continued their battle to handle field-goal and extra-point attempts with no definitive conclusion.

Both missed 38-yard field-goal attempts during a two-minute drill at the end of practice.

USC Coach Pete Carroll said he would decide today who will get the first opportunity against Oregon State.

And though every kick in practice is recorded on tape and charted, Carroll said data will not be the deciding factor.

"The numbers are just to give you some information," Carroll said. "This one is truly a gut decision.

"I'm not worried about their psyches. They're both prepared to kick and that's the way it should be."

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Sultan McCullough is likely to start, but Justin Fargas and Malaefou MacKenzie also will play tailback against Oregon State.

Carroll, however, said the Trojans will not necessarily continue a rotation if one player asserts himself.

"If somebody gets hot, we'll stay with him," Carroll said.

*

Sunny Byrd or Brandon Hancock will probably start at fullback because Chad Pierson has a sore ankle.... Tailback Darryl Poston continues to nurse a sore back and will not play Saturday, Carroll said.... Quarterback Matt Leinart got leg-whipped during a drill and suffered a contusion.... Oregon State has not won at the Coliseum since 1960.... Linebacker Dallas Sartz's father, Jeff, played safety at Oregon State.

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