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McKnight nearly blinded by the lights

September 17, 2008|Gary Klein and David Wharton | Times Staff Writers

The big stage did not bother USC running back Joe McKnight.

But the bright lights of the Coliseum did.

A migraine that forced the sophomore to leave during the second half of the top-ranked Trojans' 35-3 victory over Ohio State came on after he looked into the stadium lights, McKnight said Tuesday.

"That was my first time ever getting migraines," said McKnight, who was held out of practice.

McKnight felt pain in his eyes at the start of Saturday's game and it worsened as the game progressed. McKnight said the condition did not result from a tackle or hit.

"I don't even think I got hit in that game," said McKnight, who rushed for 105 yards in 12 carries.

McKnight continued to feel pain Sunday and Monday, but said he was better Tuesday and hoped to practice today.

"They're going to make sure they test him and check him out," Coach Pete Carroll said. "He was light sensitive early on and then it got really intense. I don't know what that means for the future."

NCAA rules forbid the use of tinted eye shields in games.

Court date

Cornerback Shareece Wright, who did not practice because of neck soreness, is scheduled to be arraigned today in San Bernardino County Superior Court for felony resisting a police officer.

The charge resulted from an incident at a party in Colton during the Trojans' bye week.

Carroll has said he would decide what action, if any, he might take later this week.

Asked if he was concerned he might be suspended, Wright said, "We'll see. I don't know what Coach Carroll is going to say. He'll do the right thing."

Practice debut

Freshmen Nick Perry and Curtis McNeal practiced for the first time since being cleared by the NCAA on Friday.

Perry, 6 feet 3 and 240 pounds, had 36 sacks as a defensive lineman during his senior season at King High in Detroit, but practiced at strong-side linebacker for the Trojans.

McNeal, 5-8, 180, averaged 10.3 yards a carry last season at Venice High. He worked as a running back and kick returner Tuesday.

"We just wanted to get them enough plays, just to see them . . . but not to wear them out," Carroll said.

Moral support

Carroll said he has spoken with former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who, according to news reports, is in danger of losing his job as Oakland Raiders coach. "I'm just continuing to support him," Carroll said.

Though the Raiders defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Kiffin fielded more questions about his employment status this week.

"All the rest of that stuff is really so counterproductive to be talking about it and answering questions," Carroll said. "He sounded like he did a good job, business as usual."

Carroll said he understood the allure of an NFL coaching job, but said the pro game can be difficult with its mix of coaches, general managers and owners, "particularly with the enormous egos involved." He called his switch to college "a breath of fresh air.

"The kids are all young, they're all eager, ready to go, and you have tremendous control," he said. "That's my whole thing. I do better when I have full control and I don't have to match a philosophy with someone else's."

Quick kicks

Defensive end Kyle Moore (back) and receiver Damian Williams (ankle) were among several players held out of practice. . . . After reviewing tape of the Ohio State game, quarterback Mark Sanchez said he needed to work on "a couple accuracy things," getting rid of the ball quicker and snap counts when players are in motion.


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