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Marinovich Expected to Meet With Smith

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Todd Marinovich probably will meet with USC Coach Larry Smith in the next few days to determine the quarterback’s future at the university.

It has been speculated since the John Hancock Bowl game Dec. 31 in El Paso against Michigan State that Marinovich, a redshirt sophomore, will leave school and make himself eligible for the NFL draft.

The National reported Thursday that Marinovich plans to leave school, citing a well-placed source.

Smith would not confirm that report, saying: "(Todd) has never consulted with me or told me that is the case (his leaving school). I have yet to see Todd since the Hancock Bowl, and I hope to get together with him this week.”

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It’s believed that a meeting was scheduled Thursday, but that Marinovich might not have received the message to meet with Smith. He was delayed in returning from a fishing and goose hunting trip in Northern California.

It was learned that he had car trouble and didn’t return home until early Wednesday morning.

Relations between Smith and Marinovich have been strained. Marinovich was benched in the fourth quarter of USC’s 17-16 loss to Michigan State.

Those who watched the game on television read Marinovich’s lips on the sidelines as he reportedly said, “I’m out of here.”

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The TV camera then caught Smith in an apparently angry mood.

There was also an incident in the USC dressing room after the game in which an assistant coach got into a shouting match with Marinovich.

Marinovich’s father, Marv, who has orchestrated his son’s athletic career since childhood, said Wednesday he hadn’t seen Todd since the bowl game.

Thursday, he told the Associated Press that his son had been weighing a decision on turning pro but said the subject wasn’t even discussed in a brief telephone conversation the previous day.

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“We didn’t talk about the report, obviously, because we weren’t aware of it,” the elder Marinovich said.


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