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Notre Dame fans force a change in routine for USC

USC-NOTRE DAME FYI

In previous years, USC got a rowdy reception at Notre Dame Stadium. This year, security was called in, and the fans were kept at a distance.

October 17, 2009|Gary Klein

SOUTH BEND, IND. — Score one for Notre Dame fans.

Their history of rowdy receptions for USC led to a change in routine Friday when Coach Pete Carroll and his team arrived at Notre Dame Stadium for a walk through.

And Carroll typically loves routine.

In years past, buses carrying USC's team stopped on the street outside the stadium, where energized players rocked the vehicles side to side before exiting and walking a gantlet of fans to the entrance.

On Friday, at USC's request, security officers taped off the plaza in front of the entrance, forcing fans back and allowing USC's three buses within steps of the gate.

The Trojans disembarked without their usual rocking, but Carroll made his way to the side of the buses and acknowledged the crowd, much to the delight of barb-throwing Irish fans.

"That was nice to see they're getting revved up like we would expect," Carroll said. "And it's fun to feel the energy even the day before the game."

Armstead starts

Sophomore lineman Armond Armstead, who returned this week from a foot injury suffered during training camp, will start at defensive tackle in place of Christian Tupou.

Tupou, who has been nursing a sore knee, and tackle Averell Spicer (ankle) also will play.

The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Armstead played tackle last season but was moved to defensive end in the spring. He was on track to start before he suffered a broken bone in his left foot, an injury that required surgery.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith will return to his starting role at the weak-side spot after sitting out the last two games because of an ankle sprain.

Tailback C.J. Gable's status could be determined at kickoff. Gable suffered a knee bruise Thursday but has said he would play.

Recruiting wars

USC and Notre Dame went head-to-head recruiting quarterback Jimmy Clausen and linebacker Manti Te'o.

Both play for the Fighting Irish.

Today, Seantrel Henderson, a 6-foot-8, 300-pound lineman from Minnesota who is regarded as the No. 1 prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, is expected to be among about two dozen players visiting Notre Dame.

"Not only the No. 1 player in the country, but many No. 1 players at their positions," Jeremy Crabtree, recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, told the Chicago Tribune.

Carroll was asked this week if he considered the effect the outcome could have on recruiting.

"That's not ever what we're thinking about in these situations," he said. "It's playing a game."

Turf talk

The grass on the field is lush, but not controversially long as it was in 2005 when the Trojans played here.

"The grass has looked as good as it's looked since we've been here in the years past and it's not an issue," Carroll said. "I never thought it was."

Butkus watch

Middle linebacker Chris Galippo is among 16 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation's top linebacker.

Galippo, a third-year sophomore, leads the Trojans with 32 tackles, five for losses.

Chris Claiborne (1998) is the only USC player to win the Butkus Award.

--

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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