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A letdown? Carroll says 'it's not going to happen'

USC FYI

September 15, 2008|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

Top-ranked USC proved it could win big against a highly ranked opponent.

With another open date before its Pacific 10 Conference opener at 1-2 Oregon State, can the Trojans avoid a letdown?

USC Coach Pete Carroll said Sunday that he spoke to his team after its 35-3 victory over Ohio State about the need to remain focused in the aftermath.

"Every team in all sports has to deal with the effects of the event and how it weighs on you one way or another," Carroll said. "I made mention to the guys that I want us to prove we understand that's a classic thing that happens to teams.

"Some teams win big and can't rebound correctly."

Carroll added that, "I don't think there's any question it's not going to happen to us."

USC has lost only three games after an open date under Carroll. The last came at Corvallis, Ore., where Oregon State tipped away a potential two-point conversion pass a win, 33-31, in 2006.

The Trojans delivered a more typical post-bye-week performance against Ohio State. After walloping Virginia in the season opener on Aug. 30, the Trojans healed and rested players with nagging injuries and utilized the extra practice days to prepare a game plan that stymied the previously No. 5 Buckeyes, who fell to 13th in the Associated Press poll and 14th in the coaches poll.

USC is off today. The Trojans will practice three days and then be off Friday and Saturday before starting preparations for Oregon State on Sunday. The game with the Beavers is on a Thursday night.

Developing young players once again will be the focus this week as defensive lineman Nick Perry and running back Curtis McNeal practice for the first time. Both freshmen were cleared by the NCAA on Friday.

Carroll said running back Joe McKnight was fine after suffering a migraine. McKnight has suffered from migraines at USC, but that was the first time during a game, Carroll said. . . . Carroll on the Pac-10's lost weekend, when four teams lost to Mountain West Conference opponents: "Unbelievable. I can't even imagine that happening but it did. . . . It does say something" for the Mountain West.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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UP NEXT

at Oregon State (1-2, 0-1)

Sept. 25, 6 p.m., ESPN

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