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USC's Shareece Wright hoping for a bigger challenge against Washington State

The senior cornerback is the most experienced member of the Trojans' secondary but has been left alone as teams have gone after younger players.

September 24, 2010|By Gary Klein

Reporting from Pullman, Wash. ā€” Shareece Wright would welcome a heavier workload Saturday when No. 20 USC plays Washington State in a Pacific 10 Conference opener at Martin Stadium.

The senior cornerback is the most experienced member of USC's young secondary. He was mostly left alone the last two games as Virginia and Minnesota attempted to exploit freshman cornerback Nickell Robey and sophomore safeties Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonald.

"I got a couple throws in the Minnesota game, but that's about it," Wright said. "You can get kind of lackadaisical after a while, so you have to remember that the ball can come your way any time.

"I would love to have the ball thrown at me more to challenge myself."

Wright might get more opportunities if Washington State Coach Paul Wulff decides to let quarterback Jeff Tuel go after a Trojans defense that ranks last in the Pac-10 against the pass.

"I don't feel like we're playing bad for being so young," Wright said. "I feel like we're holding our own and getting better."

Quick trip

After long journeys to Hawaii and Minnesota that required an extra day of travel, USC is looking forward to what will be about a 24-hour turnaround.

The Trojans arrived at their hotel in Moscow, Idaho, late Friday afternoon. In what is now standard procedure under Coach Lane Kiffin, USC did not go through a stadium walk-through.

The Trojans are scheduled to be back in Los Angeles on Saturday evening.

Northwest Passage

A year ago, USC lost at Washington a week after winning at Ohio State.

USC made another trip to the Midwest last week, but quarterback Matt Barkley does not expect a repeat of 2009.

Barkley sat out the Washington loss because of a shoulder injury suffered at Ohio State. He threw passes during warmups in a last-ditch effort to play.

"They were ugly," he said of the passes.

Outer limits

Joe Houston has missed two field-goal attempts from 48 yards, the outer reaches of his range. He makes no excuses.

"I'm sure not a whole lot of people expected me to make that. But I did, and so did my coach and my holder and the snapper," Houston said. "Both those kicks I should have made. I need to step it up in conference play."

Motivating factor

Butch Lewis and Michael Reardon are expected to share time at left guard.

Coaches gave Reardon more reps this week because they wanted to push Lewis to play at full speed every snap.

Kiffin was pleased with the result. "Butch is playing faster," he said.

Quick hits

USC is accustomed to playing in cold conditions at Martin Stadium ā€” hail fell during warmups in 2004 ā€” but the forecast for Saturday calls for temperatures in the low 80sā€¦. USC is 57-8-4 against Washington State.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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