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Walker wants to leave new mark

Times Staff Writer

Brad Walker and his USC teammates filed into the athletic dining hall after Thursday’s practice and glimpsed former Trojan Reggie Bush and the New Orleans Saints playing the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts on TV in the NFL opener.

Walker, a senior receiver from Tustin, will be forever linked to Bush, the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner who inexplicably and unsuccessfully attempted to lateral to the former walk-on during the Bowl Championship Series title-game loss to Texas in 2006 at the Rose Bowl.

“I never wanted to be remembered for being the guy that was in such an unfortunate play that some people say cost us the game,” said Walker, who was awarded a scholarship in August. “I try not to think of it like that.”

But Walker cannot elude the notoriety, so sometimes he is forced to good-naturedly embrace it.

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“I’m aware that was a major play in college football history,” he said. “Sometimes when I’m introduced to people, they don’t really know who I am until I say, you know, ‘the Reggie Bush play’?

“And they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re that guy. They might not know the name, but they know that play for sure.”

Walker began making a name for himself in a different way in last week’s opener against Idaho.

After playing in 31 games without a reception, Walker hauled in two passes from quarterback John David Booty for 22 yards.

As the only senior in the receiver corps, Walker knew his time would come. But he did not expect it to arrive so early in the season.

“I hope it continues,” he said.

Coach Pete Carroll expects that it will.

“He’s been awesome, a classic story of a guy working his way through the ranks, playing hard every day and working through the challenge of it,” Carroll said. “He’s played a lot and done a lot of good stuff. To see him get two balls right off the bat was great.”

Carroll, however, has never talked or joked with Walker about Bush’s lateral miscue.

“I don’t like to revisit that one,” Carroll said, chuckling. “It’s not one of our favorite plays to reminisce about around here.”

Freshman tailback Joe McKnight spent part of practice with his right knee wrapped in ice after removing a brace.

“The shock of pain I had just went away,” he said.

McKnight said he had been cleared to play on Sept. 15 against Nebraska without the brace.

“When the brace comes off, I might be a little stronger and faster,” he said.

With an open date this weekend, the Trojans will practice at 6:15 a.m. on Friday so that coaches can leave for recruiting trips.

Offensive linemen, who lift weights twice a week at 6:45 a.m., did not flinch at the early wake-up time, though tackle Sam Baker conceded, “you can ease into a workout, it’s different with practice.”

Other players said they would gladly work out early for a chance to extend the weekend.

Freshman running back Broderick Green, who had foot surgery on Tuesday, attended practice in a motorized chair. Green appears on track to redshirt, but Carroll said he did not know how long Green would be out. . . . Defensive end Kyle Moore sat out after straining his ankle early in practice. Moore said he would return today.

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gary.klein@latimes.com


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