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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : USC : Tailback Walters Injures Back

Shawn Walters, USC’s leading rusher last season, put a chill on the Trojans’ afternoon practice Thursday when he went down with a back injury.

The 225-pound sophomore tailback was tackled by linebacker Jeff Kopp, who was holding onto Walters’ left leg when he was hit a split second later by another linebacker, Errol Small.

Walters lay on his back for six minutes while trainers and team physician Michael Apuzzo examined him. He was put on a stretcher, immobilized and taken off on a golf cart. He was scheduled for X-rays Thursday night.

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Add injuries: Starting center Robert Loya is out of action. He has a foot injury that Coach John Robinson worries might be similar to the one that caused guard Joel Crisman to sit out several games last year.

Senior starting nose guard Stu Gage has sat out recent practices because of an ankle sprain, and senior starting guard Kris Pollack has a neck injury.

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Last year’s backup quarterback, Kyle Wachholtz, after having been granted a release by Robinson, has returned.

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Wachholtz, a junior, was given a failing grade in a speech class by a student-faculty committee last spring after admitting that he had submitted a false medical report as an excuse for missing a speech assignment.

Wachholtz, after considering a transfer to four other schools, returned and was at Thursday afternoon’s practice.

“Everything’s like it was before--Kyle is back on the team but academically ineligible this season,” said his father, Ken Wachholtz.

However, the senior Wachholtz added that he has hired a lawyer and is considering legal action to have his son’s grade overturned, in which case Wachholtz’s eligibility this season would be restored.

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In Wachholtz’s absence, sophomore Brad Otton, a transfer from Weber State, has been backing up Rob Johnson.


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