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Ohio State receiver: It's a matter of class

USC FYI

September 07, 2008|Gary Klein and David Wharton | Times Staff Writers

Ohio State's lackluster performance Saturday against Ohio will no doubt make the topics list when USC reconvenes for a team meeting tonight.

And the starting point, among players anyway, could very well be Buckeyes wide receiver Ray Small.

Small caught five passes and returned a punt for a touchdown, but it was his post-game comments that are sure to incite the Trojans.

Small, a junior from Cleveland, told ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg that he visited Ohio State and USC when he was being recruited out of high school.

"As I took my visit to USC, I'm like, 'How are they successful? They're not even serious about the game,' " Small said. "Before the game, they're all going crazy. Me and [Buckeyes defensive end] Rob Rose was on the visit and I'm looking like, 'Wow.' And then the coach said, 'You better get out of here. It's 'bout to get hectic.'

"And then I come [to Ohio State] on the visit and before the game, it's all quiet, everybody getting taped, coaches talking. It's the total opposite."

Citing comments made by former USC quarterback Carson Palmer about the Buckeyes and their fans, Small described the difference between the programs as, "a class thing."

"Here at Ohio State, they teach you to be a better man," Small said. "There, it's just all about football."

Small's comments might draw the ire of Buckeyes Coach Jim Tressel. The player has been in the coach's doghouse for an unspecified transgression.

Quarterback shuffle

USC coaches were hoping that videotape of the Ohio State-Ohio game would give them a better feel for the Buckeyes' quarterback rotation.

Fifth-year senior Todd Boeckman is the starter but Ohio State also has the mobile freshman, Terrelle Pryor, as a change of pace.

The shaky performance against Ohio suggests the Buckeyes prefer to stick with their senior when the score is close. Pryor played only sparingly. Still, the Trojans cannot afford to ignore him.

"When Pryor's in, it's runs for him and quarterback draws," USC middle linebacker Rey Maualuga said.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

david.wharton@latimes.com

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