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USC REPORT

Chow Has No Hard Feelings

September 03, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Norm Chow spent 27 seasons as an assistant coach at Brigham Young, but USC's offensive coordinator said Tuesday that there is no special motivation to defeat the Cougars on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Chow left BYU after the 1999 season to become offensive coordinator at North Carolina State.

When longtime Cougar Coach LaVell Edwards retired after the 2000 season, BYU hired Gary Crowton, the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator who had been head coach at Louisiana Tech.

"I did not sit around waiting for the head coaching job," said Chow, who still has a home in Utah. "I was promised all kinds of things if I stayed. Administrations change, people change and we moved on.

"There [are] no bitter or tough feelings about it."

Chow left North Carolina State for USC in January 2001. Last season, he won the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. After the regular season, he turned down an opportunity to become head coach at Kentucky.

Steve Sarkisian, USC's quarterbacks coach, played for Chow at BYU in 1993-94.

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With the buildup to the opener and the game itself finally behind him, quarterback Matt Leinart said he is enjoying the preparation for BYU.

"It's good to have that first game out of your way," he said. "I don't think it's going to be any tougher than going to a place like Auburn and playing in front of a crowd like that in your first game."

Leinart spent months preparing for Auburn and did not commit a turnover in the Trojans' 23-0 victory.

By Saturday, he will have spent five days preparing for BYU, which employs a 3-3-5 defensive scheme.

"I've had to refocus a little bit because so much was hyped up for that first game," he said. "Our stuff stays pretty consistent now. We'll have some new wrinkles, especially this week because BYU runs a pretty weird defense."

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Senior flanker Keary Colbert said Trojan receivers are getting a crash-course in playing against five defensive backs.

"To run our offense smoothly and take advantage and do great things, we have to understand what the defense is doing," said Colbert, who caught two passes against Auburn. "They are going to come from different angles and different places. We're going to be all screwed up if we don't understand what they're doing."

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Freshman strong safety Darnell Bing said X-rays of his right ankle and foot did not reveal any broken bones.

Bing, who suffered the injury against Auburn, did not practice, but was fitted with a brace for a high ankle sprain.

"I'll be playing on Saturday," he said.

Starting left guard Lenny Vandermade (ankle sprain) participated in limited drills and said he felt fine.

Coach Pete Carroll said Vandermade's practice activity would be monitored so that he is ready for BYU.

Sophomore fullback Brandon Hancock (high ankle sprain) said he expected to be fitted with a brace today, but he will miss the BYU game and hopes to resume workouts next week.

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Carroll said there is no plan to play freshman quarterback John David Booty against BYU.

"He's not ready to do that yet," Carroll said.

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A crowd of 65,000 to 70,000 is expected at the Coliseum for the home opener, which will be the first game between the schools.

The fourth-ranked Trojans have won their last nine home games.

After playing before a sellout crowd of 86,063 at Auburn last week, Carroll said he looks forward to the day when the Trojans fill the cavernous Coliseum to near-capacity with regularity.

"We get fantastic crowds at that stadium when we play UCLA and Notre Dame in big-time matchups for us," Carroll said. "It's so electric when it's like that it would be great if we could recreate that.

"I wish I could be there when that happens when we created that kind of excitement where every week it's like that."

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