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Tough Day for Killeen

Times Staff Writer

USC kicker Ryan Killeen said Monday that he knew when he started warming up for last Saturday’s game against Washington that he might be in for a long day.

Killeen missed field-goal attempts from 35 and 20 yards and also had an extra-point blocked in the Trojans’ 43-23 victory over the Huskies at Seattle.

“I just wasn’t there that day,” Killeen said. “I didn’t have a good warmup. It was one of those days where I either was going to hit or I wasn’t.”

Killeen’s misery intensified when wide receiver Mike Williams made a comment after his first miss. Killeen reacted angrily and the exchange was caught by television cameras and broadcast to the regional audience.

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Killeen said the comment did not affect his performance.

"[It was] heat of the moment,” Killeen said. “We’re good now. Everything was fine after the game.”

Williams, who did not practice Monday because of a high ankle sprain, said he realized immediately that his words, while not intended to insult, were ill-timed.

“I just told him, ‘Hey, you know we need the points on the board.’ I was like, ‘You need to make the kick,’ ” Williams said. “I walked off and sat down. He was upset, obviously.... I just sat there and didn’t say anything.... I already figured that by me even saying something to him was not really my place. That’s his coach’s job.

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“What I said was more in the form of encouragement: Let’s get it done, instead of trying to say he’s not good. That’s what I related to him [after the game].”

Just so there was no misunderstanding about their televised misunderstanding, Coach Pete Carroll had Killeen and Williams address the team on Monday.

“They said something in the huddle so everybody understood that there is nothing happening,” Carroll said. “It was the intensity of the moment.”

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USC rose from seventh to fourth in the bowl championship series standings, but the move did not move most of the Trojans.

“It’s good for your self-esteem,” sophomore linebacker Dallas Sartz said. “But all we really care about is winning the next game.”

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Cornerback Ronald Nunn, who broke a bone in his eye socket against Washington, said he would meet with a specialist today to determine if the injury requires surgery.

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Carroll said sophomore Justin Wyatt would step in for Nunn in the cornerback rotation. He also said that William Buchanon, who switched from cornerback to receiver last week, might return to the secondary.

“We’ll figure out by [today] how we’re going to go about that,” Carroll said.

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Williams said he intended to play against Washington State. Freshman Whitney Lewis, who was in at receiver for the Trojans’ first offensive play against Washington, worked in Williams’ spot on Monday.... Freshman running back LenDale White did not practice because of a slightly scratched cornea caused by a contact lens.... Because of the fires in the Southland, USC’s return charter from Seattle on Saturday night was put into a holding pattern before it was eventually diverted from LAX to Burbank airport. “We were about to go to Ontario first, but we were running out of gas or something,” defensive end Kenechi Udeze said. “We had to wait for the buses to come get us in Burbank.”

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