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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : USC : Robinson Decries Team’s Slow Starts

John Robinson, sounding disgusted with the early-game softness of his defense, put a new twist on it the other day.

On Tuesday, at his weekly media luncheon, the USC coach looked around the room and said, “I could take eleven people from this room . . . and with two days’ practice, this team could go right down the field and score on our defense.”

In three games, Penn State and Baylor have scored on their first possessions against USC, Washington on its second.

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Neither wide receiver Ed Hervey nor tailback Leonard Green will play Saturday against Oregon, Robinson said Thursday. Hervey has a knee injury and although Green’s pulled hamstring has apparently healed, Robinson said he isn’t yet in playing condition.

“I’ll be happy if they’re both ready for the Stanford game (Oct. 15),” he said.

Robinson also said that Kyle Ramsay would start in place of freshman guard Phalen Pounds, who had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday night to remove torn cartilage in his knee.

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When Oregon Coach Rich Brooks announced that quarterback Danny O’Neil would sit out this week’s game because of finger surgery, it reminded Robinson of a play O’Neil made in last season’s 24-13 Trojan victory at Oregon.

“O’Neil threw an interception, one of our kids was returning it, and O’Neil was in a rage,” Robinson said. “He tackled our guy right in front of me, turned him upside down and tried to steal the ball back.

“I wasn’t talking to anyone in particular, but I said, ‘That’s the damnedest thing I ever saw--I don’t think I ever saw a quarterback do that.’

“O’Neil jumped up and said: ‘Thanks, Coach,’ and ran off.”

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