YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Inside College Football | USC REPORT

Offensive Line Is Feeling the Pain

October 02, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

John Drake, a junior who has played several positions on the offensive line during USC's first four games, will start in place of Winston Justice at right tackle against Arizona State, Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday.

Justice, a sophomore, suffered an ankle sprain Saturday during the 10th-ranked Trojans' 34-31 triple-overtime loss against California and has not practiced this week. Justice performed agility drills without pads on Wednesday.

"There was pain, but there's always pain playing football," said Justice, who hopes to practice today.

Carroll said Justice could make the trip to Tempe, Ariz., even if he does not practice.

"If he's healthy and ready to go, we'll take him, but we won't start him," Carroll said. "We'll just use him if we need him."

Carroll, citing temperatures that are expected to be in the 90s, said Drake could rotate with senior Eric Torres if Torres' surgically-repaired ankle is sound, senior Nate Steinbacher and, possibly, redshirt freshman Kyle Williams.

Drake, 6-feet-4 and listed at 350 pounds, said there is no need for a rotation.

"I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity," Drake said. "I don't think they need to take me out at all."


Starting quarterback Matt Leinart, who suffered a groin strain against Cal, took increased repetitions and said he remains on track to play on Saturday.

"I've been noticing it's affecting my throwing a little bit just because I can't really push off as much as I need to," said Leinart, who is undergoing treatment three times a day. "We have three days left until game day, so it's going to get better."


After a physical practice, Carroll said he was, "concerned a little bit about that we were banging too much."

Carroll gathered defensive players and counseled them about trying to win Saturday's game.

"We just need to get out of here without hurting anybody," he said. "In a situation where you're bouncing back like this it's common to see your team ... want to play today -- and they don't get to. So, we have to temper it a little bit and build for the weekend."


As expected, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (high ankle sprain) said doctors would not clear him to play on Saturday. Junior Daniel Urquhart will start in Tatupu's place.... Freshman running back Chauncey Washington (ankle) did agility drills but Carroll said it was "pretty remote" that Washington would be ready to play.

Los Angeles Times Articles