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USC REPORT

White Shows Healthy Signs of His Power

September 25, 2003|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Practicing for the first time in nearly a week, freshman running back LenDale White showed a healthy dose of power and speed Wednesday when he sprinted for a 50-yard touchdown run against USC's first-team defense.

White, who scored twice and led the third-ranked Trojans in rushing against Hawaii, had stomach flu for three days.

"I'm back to 100%," he said. "I feel excellent, physically."

White, however, acknowledged his grandmother's health problems have weighed heavily on his mind since Sunday, when he returned from a visit to his home state of Colorado. He said he is dedicating his season to Sharon White, who is battling life-threatening heart problems and diabetes.

"She's like my second mother," White said. "It's hard for me to be this far away from home and to know she's not doing well. But when I got a chance to go back home to see her, she really brightened up and said this is where she wanted me to be.

"When I'm on the field, I have to be single-minded, but I think about her. That's probably why I broke the long run. She's my inspiration."

White shared carries with Hershel Dennis and Reggie Bush against Hawaii. He said he does not expect his role to change Saturday when USC begins its Pacific 10 Conference schedule at California.

"If I get carries, I get carries," he said. "I don't care how they use me. I'll do whatever it takes to help the team win."

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Sophomore fullback Brandon Hancock, who suffered a high ankle sprain before the season opener against Auburn, is eager to play for the first time this season against Cal.

Coach Pete Carroll said junior Lee Webb would continue to start, but Hancock would have a large role.

"It's been a long time," Hancock said. "Despite my ankle, my body feels really healthy. I think I'll have an advantage over guys that are all banged up. After putting in all that work, it will be nice to finally get a chance to let it pay off."

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Junior defensive tackle Shaun Cody, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Cal last season, was held out of most drills as a precautionary measure.

Cody has started every game this season and will play Saturday.

"He can't do everything every single day and not have some kind of setbacks or repercussions," Carroll said. "If we continue to hold him back, maybe by midseason or three or four weeks from now, we'll know he can hang in there and keep going."

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Freshman running back Chauncey Washington (ankle) performed agility drills but did not practice. Carroll said Washington will miss the Cal game.... Cal's Memorial Stadium features Momentum Turf, an artificial grass-like surface. Carroll said he was considering having an artificial surface installed on one of USC's practice fields in the future.

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