Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tuesday Morning Report

Gary Klein in the LA Times:
  • Linebacker Thomas Williams to have arthroscopic surgery on his knee today; says he'll be back for UCLA game.
  • Pete Carroll: Oscar Lua will start against Fresno State if his left knee is sound; Lua said it still felt "shaky."
  • Carroll: "[Linebacker] Collin [Ashton] is our ace in the hole." Ashton might also be snapper on punts and place-kicks if Will Collins fails to recover from a lower leg injury suffered against Cal, though Collins said X-rays were negative and that he would play Saturday.
  • Carroll: Receiver Steve Smith did not practice Monday because he was attending to an academic matter.
  • Trojans lost to Fresno State 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl.
  • USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin played for and coached at Fresno State.
Scott Wolf in the LA Daily News:
California coach Jeff Tedford apologized to USC coach Pete Carroll on Monday for a head butt delivered to Trojans tailback LenDale White after White's helmet came off in a pile of players last weekend.

Golden Bears linebacker Zack Follett head-butted White and drew a personal-foul penalty for the play.

"Jeff called and apologized and said he called (Follett) in and made him apologize for the play," Carroll said.

White said the personal foul didn't bother him because he experienced rough plays all season.

"That's what happens, life goes on," White said. "I told the refs they were grabbing my face mask. I feel like every team we play does it. They're twisting ankles, spitting, punching your head.

"But that's football. It really only happens when you're winning and it's a last resort for the other team."

Ironically, Cal offensive lineman Aaron Merz said USC was the "cheapest" defense he faced and said the Trojans spit, poked eyes and grabbed face masks.

"I didn't see anything like that on the film," Carroll said. "Our guys said they were the ones doing stuff like that."

USC defensive end Frostee Rucker denied spitting and defensive end Lawrence Jackson said the game was no rougher than usual.

"There was one play and (Cal offensive lineman) Ryan O'Callaghan pushed me in the back and I said, 'What's going on?' and he said, 'It's all fun. I'm not trying to hurt you.' So obviously, he didn't feel like we were doing anything dirty."

Carroll's more concerned about the continuing trend of helmets flying off in games and spoke to equipment personnel on Monday about it. The reason is USC switched to plastic helmet buckles this season, which become stretched out and loose after repeated use.

Carroll said he wanted to switch back to the metal buckles because they are more reliable. USC switched to plastic this season because former players Troy Polamalu and Alex Holmes cut their hands in practice on the metal buckles.
  • No rush for Williams to return from injury now that Brian Cushing has emerged at outside linebacker.
  • Tom Malone still bothered by a hip flexor. Carroll: "He's still not 100 percent. This is not him at his best. He used to be very active in practice. He can't do that anymore and only kicks one or two days."
  • Toy drive will be held at the Coliseum on Saturday for local children and those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Carroll and the USC Athletic Department behind the drive.
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