NO. 1 USC (0-0) vs.
VIRGINIA TECH (0-0)
Today, 4:45 p.m. PDT at Landover, Md.
TV: ESPN. Radio: KMPC (1540).
WHEN USC HAS THE BALL
Quarterback Matt Leinart hopes to pick up where he left off last season, but he will try to do it with a largely new corps of receivers. Flanker Steve Smith may be Leinart's early go-to guy because he is the most experienced. Tight end Alex Holmes is back on the field for the first time since the 2003 Orange Bowl and could also figure prominently in the Trojans' ball-control passing game. Offensive coordinator Norm Chow is expected to exploit the multiple talents of Reggie Bush, who probably will line up at tailback, in the slot and as a receiver at various times. Tailback LenDale White will be running behind an offensive line that includes three first-time starters for the Trojans. The Hokies' 4-3 defense is led by tackle Jonathan Lewis, linebacker Mikal Baaqee and cornerback Jimmy Williams. Virginia Tech's kick-block teams are always dangerous.
WHEN VIRGINIA TECH HAS THE BALL
The Hokies are led by mobile quarterback Bryan Randall, who passed for nearly 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 400 last season. Running back Cedric Humes will try to fill the void left by the departure of Kevin Jones, the Detroit Lions' first-round draft pick. Humes gained 380 yards last season and is coming back from a broken leg suffered in spring practice. If he is ineffective, the Hokies will turn to Justin Hamilton. Receiver Chris Clifton played in 12 games in 2003 but had only three receptions. Flanker Josh Hyman is a freshman, and tight end Jeff King, a junior, has caught only seven passes. The offensive line is big and experienced. USC will try to control the line of scrimmage with a defensive front led by senior tackles Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson.