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USC FOOTBALL FYI

Stanley Havili remembers last year, not last week

Versatile fullback, who sparkled against Washington State, wants to make up for his fumble against Washington.

September 28, 2010|By Gary Klein

Stanley Havili is staying humble.

USC's senior fullback is coming off one of his best games, but he has not forgotten last season's debacle at Washington, where his third-quarter fumble cost the Trojans momentum and helped send them on their way to defeat.

"Obviously, my turnover was a big problem," Havili said Tuesday as the Trojans began preparations for Saturday's Pacific 10 Conference game against the Huskies at the Coliseum.

Havili's fumble wasn't the Trojans' only miscue in Seattle — they also lost a first-quarter fumble and had a pass intercepted — but he is determined to avoid repeating his mistake.

Last week at Washington State, Coach Lane Kiffin gave Havili a large role for the first time this season. He responded with two touchdowns and 187 total yards.

Havili would not predict a similar workload. "I'm ready for anything," he said.

Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian anticipates seeing a lot of Havili, whom he recruited for USC out of Salt Lake City Cottonwood High.

Havili said he had a close relationship with Sarkisian, and that he contemplated leaving USC to serve a Mormon mission when the then-assistant was being pursued by the Oakland Raiders after the 2006 season. Havili said he was "bummed" when Sarkisian announced he was leaving USC for Washington as the Trojans prepared for the 2009 Rose Bowl.

He felt even worse when Sarkisian rallied the Huskies for a 16-13 upset of USC in last season's Pac-10 opener.

The defeat started USC on its way to a disappointing fifth-place finish in conference play.

"That was the start of the, quote, dominance of SC not being what we were used to seeing," Kiffin said.

Kiffin hopes to reestablish the upper hand when the Trojans go up against a Huskies staff that also includes former Trojans defensive coordinator Nick Holt.

Sarkisian and Holt's familiarity with USC's players gave them an advantage last season, Kiffin said. And he anticipates a similar situation the next few years.

"When you come from a place, you know that you've been with [players], you know their mentality and you know the things they get beat on and the things they do well," he said.

Back and forth

Kiffin and Sarkisian jokingly sparred throughout the day during a series of separate media interviews.

"I've sent him a couple [texts] over the last 24 hours," Kiffin said during a teleconference in the morning. "He's not responded, so I don't know what tricks he's up to."

After practice, Kiffin said, "He texted me back. He told me [quarterback Jake] Locker got hurt and is out of the game."

Kiffin also addressed Sarkisian repeatedly saying that the Trojans were the most talented and deepest team in the Pac-10.

"That's an old Lou Holtz trick that he learned watching TV a long time ago," Kiffin said, adding "We can barely find enough guys to practice…. Our service team is made of some kids from science class. Half of them never played football before."

When a reporter from the Orange County Register reminded Kiffin that downplaying his own team was also a Lou Holtz trick, Kiffin quipped, "We watched the same show."

Quick hits

Kiffin said defensive end Wes Horton was limited. Horton left the Washington State game after he was kicked in the back. He said he had X-rays over the weekend and would meet with team physicians after practice….Defensive lineman Armond Armstead, who was held out at Washington State because of shoulder soreness, participated in the full practice.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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