Jarrett Expects to Be Ready for Opener
With training camp behind it, USC on Tuesday began installing elements of its game plan for the Sept. 2 opener against Arkansas.
That included the return of All-American split end Dwayne Jarrett, who was sidelined for most of camp because of a quadriceps injury. Jarrett said he was about “80%" healthy and would be at full strength by game day.
Jarrett, however, had X-rays taken after practice and will consult with doctors today.
“It’s just something that happened last year, I had a little bone growing in my quad from getting hit,” he said.
Jarrett’s return gave quarterbacks John David Booty and Mark Sanchez a rare chance to work with near-healthy first-unit receivers. Senior flanker Steve Smith and junior tight end Fred Davis appear to be over rib soreness.
Jarrett said timing between quarterbacks and receivers would not be a problem.
“Those guys are both talented, Booty and Sanchez, so they’re going to get the ball in the right spots and it’s our job to just go out there and catch it,” he said.
Freshmen C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford took the majority of snaps at tailback and freshman Emmanuel Moody also got some plays while freshman Stafon Johnson worked with the scout team.
“We have a chance these couple days of this week to kind of get a feel for the guys fitting into a game-plan style of practice and preparation and all that ... we have to zero in a little bit,” Coach Pete Carroll said.
Johnson rushed for 261 yards and averaged nearly nine yards a carry during two scrimmages and a mock game, but wore a black jersey Tuesday.
“I’m just doing anything I can as far as giving the defense a great look so they can get ready for Arkansas,” Johnson said. “Anybody would like to get plays down pat, but there’s certain things people have to go through.
“If that’s what it takes, that’s what I’m willing to do. I’m here to compete.”
Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said assignments could change on a daily basis.
“Guys will move around as we need them to,” he said.
Junior tailback Chauncey Washington, who began training camp atop the depth chart, ran only one play before he was told to stop practicing.
Washington has been slowed by a left hamstring injury.
“I can get into first and second gear, it’s just when I start striding out, that’s when I still feel it,” he said. “It’s not hurting but it’s more like a stretch.”
Washington said he has been frustrated watching the freshmen compete for carries he hoped would be his.
“They’re making a name for themselves but there’s nothing I can do but do what my body wants it to do,” he said. “I’ve done nothing wrong for my hamstring to mess up this way. It’s just part of life, and once I get back out here I’ll be full go and they’ll see what I can do.”
Washington said he would continue daily therapy in an effort to play in the opener. But he acknowledged that it might take longer to return to full strength.
“If I had to I’d rather sit out Arkansas and come back [for] Nebraska,” he said. “That leaves me four weeks now because we have the bye in between, but I’m shooting for Arkansas.”
Sophomore Jeff Byers worked most of the day at center because senior Ryan Kalil had a scratched eye.... Running back Michael Coleman dressed for practice but was held out because of lingering hip soreness.... Receiver Chris McFoy (neck) said he expected to be cleared to practice today.