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Inside College Football | USC REPORT

Carroll Reaches Out to Former Assistant

September 23, 2004|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC coaches continued to reach out to former staff member Nick Holt on Wednesday as Idaho's coach and players worked through the death of Eric McMillan, a redshirt freshman cornerback from Murrieta Valley High who died early Monday.

McMillan, 19, was shot at his off-campus apartment Sunday afternoon. Two men from Seattle were arrested on Sunday and were expected to be charged with murder. Holt coached linebackers at USC for three seasons before he was hired at Idaho in December. The Vandals are 0-3 and play Oregon on Saturday.

Trojan Coach Pete Carroll said he spoke with Holt earlier in the week, and linebackers coach Rocky Seto said he called Holt on Wednesday.

"The reality of somebody on your team losing their life is just so much to deal with -- all the kids and all the emotions," Carroll said. "We talked through it. There is no right way, you just have to be as sensitive as you can."

Last year, before the start of USC's training camp, incoming freshman linebacker Drean Rucker drowned off Huntington State Beach.

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Carroll said cornerback Kevin Arbet would play more on Saturday in the top-ranked Trojans' Pacific 10 Conference opener against Stanford.

Arbet, a sixth-year senior, was projected as a starter going into the season, but he has been hampered by a slightly torn hamstring.

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Quarterback Matt Leinart, who has been nursing a sore left elbow, participated in deep-ball passing drills for the first time in weeks.... Tailback LenDale White (ankle) did not participate in most drills, but Carroll said he would be ready to play against Stanford.... Freshman Keith Rivers, who has played mainly as a reserve linebacker, practiced at defensive end for some drills.... Senior quarterback Brandon Hance was absent because of the death of his grandmother, offensive coordinator Norm Chow said. Sophomore quarterback John David Booty arrived at practice after seeing a specialist for his injured right elbow. Booty, who has not practiced for more than a month, said several tests were performed.... Jeff Byers took the majority of repetitions at center as starter Ryan Kalil worked his way back from a stinger sustained on Tuesday.... Defensive lineman Manuel Wright did not participate in most drills because of back spasms. Wright also said he was awaiting test results for a stomach ailment that has plagued him since the start of training camp.... Offensive lineman Alatini Malu, who had an appendectomy on Aug. 22, returned to practice Tuesday.

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