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USC REPORT

Getting Running Game in Motion Is a Priority

September 11, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Hawaii's passing attack has been USC's main topic of concern this week, but the Trojans acknowledge that their own sluggish running game also is a major issue.

Fourth-ranked USC is averaging 97 rushing yards a game.

"It's time to get a ground game established and feel good about ourselves," senior left guard Lenny Vandermade said Wednesday.

Brigham Young used a confusing 3-3-5 defense last week and limited the Trojans to 71 yards rushing.

Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said there was plenty of blame to go around.

"It's never one thing," Chow said. "It's the coaching, it's the calls that give us a chance to make a play, linemen missing a block, a back making the wrong cut -- it's not one guy's fault."

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Freshman safety Darnell Bing was fitted with a new brace for the high ankle sprain suffered against Auburn, but he did not practice for the third day in a row.

"I really haven't considered that he's not going to be ready, but I have to consider it now," Coach Pete Carroll said.

Bing said he would try to practice today.

Carroll said sophomore Mike Ross would start if Bing cannot play.

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Senior cornerback Will Poole, who will start in place of injured Kevin Arbet, is eager to make the most of his one season at USC after transferring from Ventura College.

Poole started 10 games for Boston College as a redshirt freshman in 2000, but was suspended for the 2001 season because of what the USC media guide describes as "a violation of team rules."

Poole declined to provide details about the circumstances that led to his departure from Boston College.

"I've been out of Boston College for two or three years now," he said. "I don't want to bring back the past. I'm looking forward to the future right now."

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Carroll acknowledged that he talked to players this week about off-the-field incidents that have recently come to light at UCLA.

"I'm always really trying to keep pointing out examples that help us understand what can happen and how guys can make mistakes and make bad choices and things," Carroll said.

"Whatever comes up, if I think it's meaningful, a teachable moment, I'm going to try and capture it. It doesn't matter where it's coming from."

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Senior left tackle Jacob Rogers did not practice and wore a protective boot for a sprained right ankle. Rogers said he would probably not practice today or Friday but would play against Hawaii.... Arbet said he would have surgery to repair a broken bone in his left foot on Sept. 22.

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