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Jarrett Is Making Himself at Home

Times Staff Writer

USC split end Dwayne Jarrett has been content to stay in the background and tutor freshman Patrick Turner, the Trojans’ latest 6-foot-5 pass-catching sensation.

But on Thursday, Jarrett reminded teammates and coaches how spectacular he can be.

The 6-5 sophomore from New Jersey elevated high above cornerback John Walker to complete an acrobatic touchdown pass play that brought USC’s practice to a cacophonic halt.

“I know I’m capable of making the big plays,” said Jarrett, who scored 13 touchdowns last season and is rooming with quarterback Matt Leinart this year. “That’s why I’m not worried about a younger guy coming in, learning and getting used to everything. I want to make sure he’s comfortable so he won’t have to go through what I went through.”

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Jarrett, from New Jersey, overcame a bout of homesickness last summer and fall to emerge as USC’s leading receiver. He spent the off-season working on route-running and blocking to improve his overall performance and has enjoyed working with Turner, who journeyed west from Tennessee.

“I think I’ve had a great camp,” Jarrett said. “I’m out here with my friends, it’s like my second home.”

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Punter Tom Malone still has not kicked in team drills because of a hip problem, but the senior is hardly worried.

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Malone said he could punt in the Sept. 3 opener against Hawaii without having kicked during practice.

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” said Malone, a 2003 All-American who averaged 43.8 yards a kick in 2004. “I would like to avoid that, but that wouldn’t be a problem for me.

“You can do a million things other than actually kicking the ball to stay on point. I’ve been doing all that. With all this time off, my leg just feels fresh and is getting stronger.”

Malone said he kicks only once a week before games.

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In preparation for Sunday’s scrimmage, the Trojans worked out and went through game procedure Thursday night at the Coliseum to complete the last of their two-a-day practices.... Freshman linebacker Rey Maualuga, who has been practicing since the start of training camp, was in street clothes for the morning workout because he was awaiting final certification from the NCAA Clearinghouse, Coach Pete Carroll said. “His stuff is in, but we don’t have the smoke out of the Vatican on this one yet,” Carroll said. Maualuga was certified by the afternoon and practiced Thursday night. ... Senior cornerback Justin Wyatt (neck), freshman linebacker Brian Cushing (Achilles’ tendon) and freshman quarterback Mark Sanchez (groin) returned to practice.... USC will hold its annual “Salute to Troy” tonight on campus. Members of USC’s 1955 and 1980 teams will be honored.


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