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USC REPORT

Allmond Becomes Returner

October 10, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Marcell Allmond won a starting cornerback position last season, but the USC senior added the job he coveted Thursday when Coach Pete Carroll said Allmond would return kickoffs for the ninth-ranked Trojans on Saturday against Stanford.

"I love it -- I've been waiting for this forever," Allmond said. "I got a couple of kickoff returns my freshman year, but there really wasn't a No. 1 guy. I've always been the lead, the blocker."

Allmond has returned four kickoffs this season. All of them, however, were on short kicks or on balls misplayed by others.

"He's been really steady back there, he's taken the ball up in there tough when he's had his chances," Carroll said.

Allmond, averaging 24.2 yards per return, replaces freshman Reggie Bush, who has struggled fielding kicks.

Junior receiver Jason Mitchell will take Allmond's spot.

"I'm going to take advantage of this and try not to get yanked," Allmond said. "I'm going to hit the hole with no dancing around, no nothing. Just run straight ahead. Run where the hole is supposed to be."

Carroll said Bush would have opportunities in the future. Bush averaged 22.2 yards for five returns.

"I want to make sure we take our time bringing Reggie along," Carroll said.

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Middle linebacker Daniel Urquhart will start again in place of Lofa Tatupu, who is trying to recover from a high ankle sprain suffered against California on Sept. 27.

Urquhart made a team-high 10 tackles against Arizona State last week.

"I look at the tackles, but there are a lot of mistakes I made and they capitalized on them," Urquhart said. "I didn't play as well as I should have. This game is a chance to come back and correct some of those."

Carroll said the status of Tatupu, offensive lineman Winston Justice (ankle) and running back Chauncey Washington (ankle) would be determined before kickoff.

Junior John Drake will start again in place of Justice, Carroll said.

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USC, which owns an 11-game home winning streak, has not played at the Coliseum since defeating Hawaii on Sept. 13.

Saturday's game is the Trojans' only home game in October.

"It seems like it's almost a rare opportunity to play at the Coliseum," Carroll said. "We want to really make the most of it and make sure we're clearly tuned in to how critical it is that we play well at home and keep it going regardless of who the opponent is."

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