Week off has helped Jarrett’s shoulder heal
Dwayne Jarrett was up in the air Monday, a rare feeling for the junior split end and a welcome sight for USC.
Jarrett’s leaping attempt to grab a pass from quarterback John David Booty with a cornerback in tow marked one of the few times during this injury-plagued season that the 6-foot-5 All-American showed the vertical game that made him so dynamic in 2004 and 2005.
“We have six games left so the season is just starting for me,” said Jarrett, who was slowed by a quadriceps strain throughout training camp and separated his shoulder against Arizona. “I’ve been so beat up, but I’m feeling good and getting the timing down with J.D. so he can trust me to go up there. Like, ‘Hey, I’m feeling better. You can just throw it up and hopefully things work out.’ ”
USC, which is unbeaten and No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, had an open date last week. Jarrett was among the Trojans who benefited.
“This bye week definitely helped out tremendously; I did not have to take any blows to my shoulder,” said Jarrett, who has caught 27 passes, four for touchdowns. “I got a chance to watch a lot of football on Saturday. It’s cool being a spectator at times.”
Jarrett viewed a full schedule of games, including Notre Dame’s last-minute victory over UCLA.
The situation harkened memories for Jarrett, who stretched a mid-range pass from former quarterback Matt Leinart into a 61-yard gain on a fourth-and-nine play with less than 90 seconds left at Notre Dame Stadium last season. The play set up Leinart’s game-winning touchdown.
Nevertheless, Jarrett was stunned when Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija eluded several Bruins players and scored on a 45-yard touchdown pass play with less than 30 seconds left.
“I was just like, ‘Wow, how many times are they going to miss?’ ” Jarrett said. “It was like five defenders were right there trying to tackle him and they all missed.
“He was close to the sideline and somebody could have just pushed him out or tackled him. I put my hat off to Samardzija. That was a great play and just shows the kind of competitor he is.”
Jarrett is eager to display his own set of skills on Saturday when the Trojans resume their schedule at Oregon State.
After struggling in the opener against Arkansas, Jarrett rebounded with an 11-catch, two-touchdown performance against Nebraska. But the shoulder injury against Arizona forced him to miss the next game at Washington State, slowed him in a brief appearance against Washington and still bothered him against Arizona State.
“This is the best I’ve felt, physically since the Nebraska game,” he said. “I’m ready to finish the season strong.”
Tailback Chauncey Washington said he did not attend practice because he was making up a midterm examination. Washington said he would return today.... Flanker Steve Smith, offensive linemen Chilo Rachal and Kyle Williams and linebackers Oscar Lua and Thomas Williams returned after sitting out all or part of last week’s practices because of injuries.... The Trojans worked on the artificial turf at Cromwell Field to prepare for a similar surface at Oregon State’s Reser Stadium. They also will practice there Thursday, according to Coach Pete Carroll.... Receiver Chris McFoy (shoulder) said he had a bone scan Monday and hoped to return in the next week or two.... USC’s Nov. 4 game at Stanford will kick off at 4 p.m. and will be shown live nationally on FSN cable.