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USC FYI

As per recent tradition, this week's for the kids

September 02, 2008|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

While the Beanie Wells watch continues in Ohio this week, USC's open date on Saturday allows the Trojans to turn inward.

The focus, as per Pete Carroll's bye-week formula, will be on freshmen.

Offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Khaled Holmes and Matt Kalil are expected to get extensive work with the first-team offense when the Trojans return to practice today.

"We'll see how far they can take it," Carroll said. "I don't have any goal in mind."

For all of the talk about competition and positions being up for grabs on a daily basis at USC, only one offensive lineman has gone from reserve to starter status based on merit during a bye week after an opener.

In 2002, Winston Justice did not play in the opener against Auburn. But he started at right tackle two weeks later at Colorado and remained there the rest of his career.

So it is doubtful that any of the freshmen will unseat the linemen who prevented Mark Sanchez from being sacked against Virginia.

But a chance to work with the veterans could help the Trojans should younger players be called upon because of injuries or poor performance as the season progresses.

Sophomore offensive lineman Derek Simmons, freshman tight end Blake Ayles and sophomore receiver Jordan Cameron are other players who will get increased opportunities this week in practice.

On defense, Armond Armstead could work into a backup role behind tackle Fili Moala and end Malik Jackson also will play more with the first unit, Carroll said. Both played in the opener against Virginia, Jackson making two tackles, Armstead one.

Linebackers Jordan Campbell, Uona Kaveinga and Malcolm Smith also will be a focus as the Trojans work to increase their depth while awaiting the return of Chris Galippo from back surgery. Kaveinga, a freshman, had one tackle against Virginia.

Quick kicks

Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells did not practice Monday and continued to wear a protective boot on the right foot he injured Saturday against Youngstown State, according to a report issued by the team. Wells has been receiving treatments but officials did not give an exact diagnosis or recovery time.

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Times staff writer David Wharton contributed to this report.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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ONLINE

Columnist Chris Dufresne says Ohio State would be well served to keep quiet about injured running back Beanie Wells. Latimes.com/sports

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