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COLLEGE FOOTBALL : USC FYI

Gable is frustrated about role

October 29, 2008|Gary Klein | Klein is a Times staff writer.

USC tailback C.J. Gable is not going to cry about it.

The sophomore from Sylmar said so repeatedly Tuesday while expressing frustration about the Trojans' tailback rotation.

After rushing for 109 yards and three touchdowns in 16 carries against Washington State, Gable got only five carries in USC's victory over Arizona last week.

"I'm angry and I don't understand, but I'm not going to cry about it," Gable said.

Junior Stafon Johnson leads the Trojans with 66 carries and Gable is second with 54. Sophomore Joe McKnight has 50 and redshirt freshman Broderick Green has 27.

"Everybody's been able to get some shine," running backs coach Todd McNair said. "Nobody's been left in the cold."

Gable, however, is the second Trojans tailback to publicly express frustration about his role in USC's talented but crowded backfield.

After not carrying the ball once in the Trojans' loss to Oregon State on Sept. 25, junior Allen Bradford said he should be a bigger part of the offense. Bradford, who had 14 carries, has since been diagnosed with a hip injury and will have season-ending surgery.

Gable came back this season from abdominal surgery that forced him to be a redshirt in 2007. He has started six of the Trojans' seven games, tying for the team lead with nine carries against Virginia and finishing with a team-best 10 carries for 49 yards against Oregon.

Johnson had a team-high 18 carries against Washington State and 19 against Arizona.

"I'm not getting enough carries, but I'm not going to cry about it," Gable said. "I'm just going to suck it up and work hard and whatever they're going to give me, they're going to give me."

Still a problem

One step forward, 68 yards back.

USC thought it had solved its penalty problems when it was flagged only twice in its rout of Washington State. But USC reverted to form against Arizona with 10 infractions.

USC is averaging slightly more than eight penalties a game. Only hapless Washington State ranks lower in the Pacific 10 Conference.

"We just have to keep adjusting and get more mindful of the way things are getting called," Coach Pete Carroll said. "We're working at it, trying to get everybody conscious of it."

Quick kicks

Receiver Vidal Hazelton did not practice because of a toe injury, but he said he would return today. "It's not my year," said Hazelton, who has suffered ankle injuries and a concussion this season. "It's the worst year of my life." Hazelton a few weeks ago requested to be a redshirt, but he played against Arizona, negating the chance to apply for the extra year of eligibility. . . . Cornerback Shareece Wright is scheduled to appear in San Bernardino Superior Court today for a settlement conference related to his Sept. 7 arrest for resisting a police officer, a felony. Wright has not practiced since suffering a fractured vertebra against Ohio State on Sept. 13 and will probably be a redshirt.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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