Trojans Limp Through Practice

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After a close loss at Oregon and an overnight flight home, the Trojans reconvened for a light practice Monday afternoon.

Several players were nursing injuries. Safety Antuan Simmons hurt his ankle and did not participate. Quarterback Carson Palmer practiced but was hobbled by what Coach Pete Carroll called a bruise, an injury suffered when Palmer was hit while scrambling.

After practice, Carroll gathered some players for a talk, saying he is mindful of his team’s mood after consecutive losses to nationally ranked teams.


“We’re frustrated by the outcome,” he said, but later added: “If we start playing a little better in a number of areas, we’re going to win those games.”

Upon reviewing films of the Oregon game, Carroll has given considerable thought to play selection on a late possession when USC needed only a first down to run out the clock. The offense ran twice and failed to complete a third-down pass.

Offensive coordinator Norm Chow calls the plays but Carroll said he always has input, especially in those final plays because Oregon was calling timeouts. “Those are staff decisions,” Carroll said.

Does he wish he had called something different?

“Sure,” he said, “but I’m not telling you.”


Team officials have not spoken with Malaefou MacKenzie since he departed last week for his father’s funeral in Western Samoa. The senior tailback is expected to return today and with a full week of practice, Carroll said, he could be ready to play against Stanford on Saturday.


Linebacker Chris Prosser practiced with the first team after a strong performance against Oregon. He had 2.5 tackles, including one for a loss. Still, Carroll hasn’t decided if Prosser has moved up the depth chart.