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Ellison familiar with Corvallis

September 25, 2008|Gary Klein and David Wharton | Times Staff Writers

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Kevin Ellison was the first USC player on the field for Wednesday's walkthrough at Reser Stadium, a place the senior safety has visited more than any other Trojan.

Ellison came here several times when his brother, Buffalo Bills linebacker Keith Ellison, played for Oregon State in 2004 and 2005.

Ellison, who played at Redondo Union High, probably would have committed to the Beavers if USC had not made an offer late in his senior season.

"I kind of liked that [USC] wanted me to play safety," Ellison said this week. "Oregon State wanted me as an outside linebacker."

Ellison will see another familiar face across the line tonight when top-ranked USC plays Oregon State in the Trojans' Pacific 10 Conference opener.

Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao played at North Torrance High.

"He's strong and mobile and he has a competitive edge to him," Ellison said. "But I'm going to hit him. No South Bay love."

Weather forecast

Rain fell during the walkthrough and there could be more during the game.

USC Coach Pete Carroll wasn't concerned.

"It's just as rainy on their side, it's just as windy on their side," he said after the walkthrough. "It doesn't make any difference in that regard.

"There's a 70% chance of no rain. . . . That's how I look at it."

Compare and contrast

Oregon State Coach Mike Riley was asked to compare this season's USC team with the 2004 squad that went undefeated and won a national championship.

Those Trojans were known for a high-powered offense led by Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, but Riley talked about the current defense, calling it "as talented as any that I've seen."

He praised the pass rush and speed in the secondary.

"If you're throwing the football, they've got everybody's eyes on the quarterback," he said. "They have a feel for the patterns but they are reacting to the ball quickly and it's impressive how many guys they get reacting to the football and that's why they can make plays."

Out and in

Quarterback Peter Lalich, who started for Virginia against USC, reportedly will transfer to Oregon State.

Lalich, 20, was removed from Virginia's team after violating probation for an underage alcohol possession charge. Lalich visited Corvallis this week.

Classes begin Monday, so Lalich could enroll and redshirt, leaving him with three seasons of eligibility.


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