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Carroll Says He's 'Over It'; So Are Players

August 28, 2004|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

LANDOVER, Md. — The NCAA's rejection of USC's request to restore the eligibility of receiver Mike Williams did not appear to be weighing heavily on the minds of Trojan players or coaches Friday.

Coach Pete Carroll and other school officials lashed out at the NCAA on Thursday when they learned of the ruling.

But after his team went through a short practice Friday at the University of Maryland, Carroll said, "I'm way over it and ready to move on."

Senior offensive tackle John Drake said the top-ranked Trojans felt bad for Williams but they were focused on playing Virginia Tech.

"We were always hoping that it would go the other way, but we've got to live with it," Drake said. "It affects us because he's a great player. But Coach Carroll had us prepared for him not being here. It doesn't change the game plan for Virginia Tech or anything like that."


Taitusi Lutui will make his first start for the Trojans tonight when he lines up at right tackle.

Lutui, 6 feet 6 and 370 pounds, knows he will have one of the most important responsibilities on the field -- protecting quarterback Matt Leinart's blindside.

"I'm used to it," said Lutui, a junior-college transfer from Arizona.

"In junior college, I was the left tackle for a right-handed quarterback and right tackle for a left-handed quarterback like Leinart.

"I know what I have to do."


Receiver William Buchanon, who was sidelined early this week because of a hyperextended knee, made the trip and will play tonight, Carroll said.... Junior Justin Wyatt will start at cornerback ahead of sixth-year senior Kevin Arbet, but Carroll said Arbet would play a lot.... Sophomore quarterback John David Booty is not expected to play because of lingering numbness caused by a blow to his right elbow. Senior Brandon Hance will back up Leinart.

Temperatures in the mid-70s are expected at game time tonight with a 20% chance of showers, according to the National Weather Service.... USC has never played Virginia Tech, which is 0-6 in games against No. 1-ranked teams. The Hokies had never played a Pacific 10 Conference team until last season when they lost to California, 52-49, in the Insight Bowl.... Former Los Angeles Loyola High standout Jordan Trott, the first player from California to sign with Virginia Tech out of high school, will not play because he is recovering from back surgery. Trott is a junior defensive lineman.

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