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USC's Hayes Pullard eager to face Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas

Pullard, a redshirt freshman linebacker who has started every game, was teammates with Thomas at Crenshaw High. They are best of friends, but Pullard says he won't hold back.

November 14, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • USC linebacker Hayes Pullard tackles Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler during a game on Sept. 24 in Tempe, Ariz.
USC linebacker Hayes Pullard tackles Arizona State quarterback Brock… (Matt York / Associated Press )

USC linebacker Hayes Pullard will see a familiar face across the line of scrimmage when the No. 18 Trojans play No. 4 Oregon on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas starred with Pullard and Trojans offensive lineman Marcus Martin at Crenshaw High.

Pullard signed with the Trojans in 2010. Thomas, after making a commitment to attend USC, signed with the Ducks last February.

"I can't wait to play against him," Pullard said.

Pullard, a redshirt freshman, has started every game this season and has 58 tackles, second on the team. Martin, a first-year freshman, has started the last seven games at left guard.

Then there's Thomas, who's been as dynamic as projected, rushing for five touchdowns, catching seven touchdown passes and returning a kickoff for a touchdown for the Ducks.

Pullard recently said he was proud of Thomas but would not hold back against a player he nurtured in high school.

"I look at it just like when we were in practice," Pullard said. "Off the field we were like best of friends, like brothers.

"Like I always tell him: 'On the field I'm not your friend. I don't know who you are on the field. I just see an opposite-colored jersey. I'm going to kill you on the field. You better hope I don't catch you.'

"That's how it is — brotherhood off the field. On the field I'm about to rip him apart."

Martin also will see familiar faces across the line of scrimmage.

Oregon defensive end Terrell Turner is another former Crenshaw standout. The fifth-year senior has six tackles for losses, 3½ sacks among them.

And Oregon end Tony Washington is Martin's first cousin. Washington, a redshirt freshman who played at Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos High, has 12 tackles, including a sack, in eight games.

Weather report

The forecast for Eugene, Ore., on Saturday calls for possible rain or snow showers and temperatures that could dip into the 20s.

USC is 0-2 in games played in snow, according to USC's sports information office. The Trojans last played in snow on Nov. 30, 1957, losing at Notre Dame, 40-12.

In 2004, USC reveled in a pregame hailstorm at Washington State and won, 42-12.

Quick hits

Freshman receiver Marqise Lee was selected as the Pac-12 Conference's special-teams player of the week after returning the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown in the Trojans' 40-17 victory over Washington. He also caught nine passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Lee has caught 52 passes and scored eight touchdowns. … Robert Woods is one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the top receiver in college football. Woods had only two receptions against Washington but remains the Pac-12 leader, averaging 9.2 a game. … The Trojans resume practice Tuesday.

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