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Inside College Football | USC REPORT

City Attorney Receives Report on Maualuga

November 17, 2005|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles city attorney's office has received a police report regarding an incident that led to the arrest of USC linebacker Rey Maualuga, a spokesman for the city attorney's office said Wednesday.

Maualuga, a freshman, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor battery Nov. 1 after he allegedly punched a man at a Halloween party near campus. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

The city attorney's office will decide whether to file charges against Maualuga.

"We are looking over the report and weighing the merits of the case," city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said. "No decision has been made."

Maualuga, 18, has been receiving counseling and also has spoken to youth groups as part of a program devised by Coach Pete Carroll and a team leadership committee.

Maualuga was initially demoted to the scout team, but he played middle linebacker in the second half against Stanford four days after his arrest. He played nearly the entire game and intercepted a pass against California last week after Thomas Williams suffered a knee injury.

Maualuga could start for the first time Saturday against No. 16 Fresno State if junior Oscar Lua is not fully recovered from a left knee injury that kept him out of the Cal game.

Lua, who started the first eight games, practiced with the first-unit defense Wednesday.

"Everything is on track," Lua said. "My knee feels great."

Carroll, however, said he would decide later in the week whether Lua would start.

"I'm not making a big deal about it -- I know he's going to be able to play, and that's good," Carroll said. "We have to make sure he's confident in all the moves he has to do."

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Senior cornerback John Walker is participating in full-speed team drills for the first time since he suffered a high ankle sprain against Washington on Oct. 22.

In Walker's absence, converted safety Josh Pinkard started the last two games and provided solid play for a secondary that was under fire for much of the season.

"It's definitely hard to see someone else in the place where you feel you should be," said Walker, who started five consecutive games before he was injured. "But, then again, with the types of athletes that we have, it's understandable that when a guy gets an opportunity and does well you have to be able to support that."

Walker said he would not be angry if the coaching staff decided to remain with Pinkard as the starter.

"If I didn't get the start, Josh definitely deserves it," Walker said. "He's been doing really well holding down the fort. So as long as I can get in the game and contribute, I'll be more than content."

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Carroll said USC's athletic department is sponsoring a toy drive for a children's foundation and victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Fans attending Saturday's game between the Trojans and Fresno State can donate new toys at a collection site at the peristyle end of the Coliseum, a USC official said.

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