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USC FYI

Trojans off, but they do some poll climbing anyway

The Trojans get a bump when top-five teams Florida State, Louisiana State and Georgia all lose Saturday. USC is now No. 11 in the AP media poll and No. 9 in the USA Today coaches' poll.

October 08, 2012|By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times
  • USC receiver Marqise Lee runs for a touch down as Utah defensive back Reggie Topps pursues in the fourth quarter during an NCAA college football game Thursday.
USC receiver Marqise Lee runs for a touch down as Utah defensive back Reggie… (Rick Bowmer / Associated…)

USC had the weekend off, but the Trojans climbed in the polls Sunday after three top-five teams lost.

USC, a 38-28 winner at Utah on Thursday, got a bump courtesy of Florida State, Louisiana State and Georgia defeats on Saturday.

The Trojans moved from No. 13 to No. 11 in the Associated Press media poll and from No. 12 to No. 9 in the USA Today coaches' poll.

"It's out of our control so we don't worry about it and don't pay attention to it," Coach Lane Kiffin said after practice Sunday. "There's a lot of football left and, as we all know, every week changes."

USC, 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-12 Conference, plays Washington on Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Washington (3-2, 1-1) is coached by former Trojans co-offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

Second-ranked Oregon routed then-No. 23 Washington, 52-21, on Saturday at Eugene, Ore.

"I don't think the final score is indicative of their football team as compared to ours and that part's really frustrating to me," Sarkisian told reporters after the game.

Kiffin spent part of the Trojans' open date watching the matchup.

"Obviously, Oregon is one of the best programs in the country and Washington's not that far behind it," he said. "You got some breaks early and the game just got out of hand."

Washington defeated San Diego State, Portland State and Stanford in Seattle. The Huskies got blown out by Louisiana State and Oregon on the road.

So Kiffin expects a tough game Saturday.

"They're a completely different team when they play at home and when they play on the road," he said.

In a corner

USC's staff has discussed allowing receiver Marqise Lee to play cornerback, but "we've really just not come up with a final answer on it," Kiffin said.

Lee has averaged 10.4 receptions a game, which ranks second nationally, and 129.8 receiving yards per game, which ranks fourth.

"It's pretty hard to put him over there very much if it was going to have to take reps away from offense," Kiffin said.

Lee, 6 feet and 190 pounds, played safety at Gardena Serra High. Kiffin told reporters Friday that during the flight home from Utah, Lee was lobbying to play cornerback.

Players were not made available to the media Sunday.

Safety Josh Shaw, a transfer from Florida, worked out at cornerback during training camp and is expected to get another look there this week.

Quick hits

Tailbacks Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd were among players that dressed for practice but left after about an hour. Tight end Randall Telfer, who apparently suffered an ankle injury against Utah and wore a large protective boot, and center Khaled Holmes also were in the group. Players returned for the end of the workout…. McNeal started against Utah but was sidelined early in the game after suffering an unspecified injury. Teammates reportedly said McNeal suffered a concussion…. Receiver Robert Woods, who continued playing against Utah after appearing to be evaluated for a possible head injury, dressed for practice. Woods also was evaluated when the team returned to Los Angeles, Kiffin said …. The Trojans ran the ball to the right side against Utah to offset the impact of Utes defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, Kiffin said. "I thought our guys did a good job keeping him on the backside of runs and containing him," he said. "It wasn't about our personnel. It was about theirs." Of Trojans right tackle Kevin Graf and right guard John Martinez, Kiffin said, "They're very efficient. They don't make many mistakes and they play together well, too."

gary.klein@latimes.com twitter.com/latimesklein

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