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Huskies are No. 1 in one area

October 30, 2008|Gary Klein and Lance Pugmire | Klein and Pugmire are Times staff writers.

Looking for ways to motivate their charges against a winless opponent, USC coaches turned to an unlikely source:

Pacific 10 Conference statistics.

Washington is 0-7 and ranks at or near the bottom in most of 33 statistical categories.

But the Huskies, surprisingly, lead the Pac-10 in third-down conversion percentage.

Coach Pete Carroll and his defensive staff have latched onto the Huskies' 47.6% third-down success rate. It's one of the few informational tidbits available to challenge a Trojans team that enters Saturday's game at the Coliseum favored by more than 40 points.

"They let us know they're No. 1 in the Pac-10," defensive end Kyle Moore said after practice on Wednesday. "You've got to go out and put some pressure on and tear that stat up."

USC leads the conference and ranks fourth nationally in third-down efficiency defense. Opponents have converted only 27.6%.

The Huskies are coming off a 33-7 loss against Notre Dame.

"They have some good playmakers, they just haven't put it all together yet," cornerback Cary Harris said.

Wright hearing continued

A hearing connected to charges against cornerback Shareece Wright was continued until Dec. 17.

Wright, charged with felony resisting a police officer for his actions at a party in Colton last month, is seeking to have the count either dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor, his attorney, Carlos Juarez, said.

Juarez said Colton police complicated the situation by encouraging Wright to provide a statement that he wasn't bitten by a police German shepherd. Wright said he was bit on the right ankle as the party was broken up, drawing a little blood.

"It was no big deal, but the dog bit me," Wright said after the hearing at San Bernardino County Superior Court.

Juarez said officers who interrogated Wright asked the player, "Sure? We can make this right."

A telephone call to Colton police Wednesday seeking comment was not returned, but county prosecutor Sean McNally noted the dog "also bit one of the peace officers, the one who was handcuffing Wright, at the same time."

The player and his attorney say they have no plans to pursue a civil action against the police department.

"I just want it resolved," Wright said.

Juarez said he had spoken with McNally and was hopeful of resolving the case outside of court. "It has to be less than a felony," Juarez added.

A felony conviction could result in a maximum three-year prison sentence.

McNally said, "We're close to an agreement. I'd be surprised if we don't come to a settlement [by Dec. 17]."

Wright, a starter who has been sidelined since suffering a fractured vertebra against Ohio State, said he would undergo a CT scan today.

Not toeing the line

Tailback Joe McKnight and offensive lineman Zack Heberer have recovered from "turf toe" injuries and receiver Vidal Hazelton returned after missing Tuesday's practice because of a stubbed toe suffered while chasing his dog.

But defensive lineman Everson Griffen sat out most of practice because of a torn toenail.

"I'm sure that there's more than that in a plethora of toe injuries but we've covered probably the gamut," Carroll said.

Quick kicks

Defensive tackle Averell Spicer (ankle) will not play against Washington, Carroll said. . . . Nick Howell is on track to start ahead of Butch Lewis again at right tackle, but a final decision will not be made until Friday.


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