USC rewind & fast forward
REWIND: Open date
As expected: Trojans coaches used the long weekend to recruit locally and out of state.
USC also was reminded that its Pacific 10 Conference schedule will be arduous. Unbeaten Oregon trounced Michigan with a wide-open attack, unbeaten Washington impressed against Boise State, DeSean Jackson kept unbeaten California humming along, Arizona State remained perfect under Dennis Erickson, Washington State quarterback Alex Brink torched San Diego State and UCLA held on against Brigham Young. Even Arizona won.
Unexpected: Backup quarterback Mark Sanchez (thumb) was not expected to start throwing passes until this week, but he got ahead of schedule and went through drills Thursday and Friday without taking snaps. Sanchez intends to go through all drills this week and be available against Nebraska.
Stepped up: Sophomore receiver Vidal Hazelton had a big game against Idaho, and his confidence continued to grow through last week’s practices.
Cornerback Cary Harris was anxious before the opener because Josh Pinkard had moved to the top of the depth chart. But when Pinkard injured his knee in practice, Harris started against Idaho and played fairly well despite a sore hamstring. Harris had a good week of practice and could hold his spot with Pinkard’s status uncertain.
Stepped back: With an open date, the Trojans did not do anything to lose ground, but No. 2 Louisiana State closed the gap on them in the Associated Press media and USA Today coaches’ polls.
Coach’s quote: “We saw all kinds of [high school] games during the weekend all over the country, seeing guys we wanted to see,” Pete Carroll said. “The final aspect of the thing is to see them in person. . . .
“We went through it all on Nebraska. They’re really good . . . a complete team with good players in all the right spots.”
Injury report: The Trojans rested several players with hopes that they would be ready for Nebraska. Linebacker Brian Cushing (ankle) did not practice but said he would return today and play Saturday. Receiver Patrick Turner (neck) did some light drills Friday and said he would play against the Cornhuskers. Pinkard (knee) will be evaluated today or Tuesday.
Senior tailback Chauncey Washington (shoulder) hopes to be cleared for contact. Freshman running back Joe McKnight (knee) sat out Friday’s practice, but he is expected to play against Nebraska.
Looking ahead to the game vs. Nebraska (Saturday at Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb., 5 p.m., Channel 7).
First look: After routing Nevada in their opener at home, the Cornhuskers struggled and hung on for a 20-17 victory at Wake Forest.
Former North Hollywood High standout Marlon Lucky, who rushed for 233 yards against Nevada, was limited to 90 yards in 24 carries against Wake Forest but scored what proved to be the decisive touchdown on a 22-yard run in the third quarter. Quarterback Sam Keller completed 24 of 41 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Topic of the week: Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan recently got a contract extension that includes potential bonuses for winning Big 12 Conference division and league titles and national championships.
There probably is no language about how much a victory over top-ranked USC would be worth, but it is safe to say that it would buy Callahan some goodwill after last season’s less-than-scintillating offensive game plan against the Trojans.
SEASON LOG (1-0)
Idaho (1-1); Won, 38-10
Vandals, buoyed by performance against top-ranked Trojans, rebound with a 20-13 victory over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Saturday: at No. 14 Nebraska (2-0)
Cornhuskers nearly got caught looking ahead to Trojans’ first visit to Lincoln since 1969. USC won that game, 31-21.
Sept. 22: Washington State (1-1)
Sept. 29: at Washington (2-0)
Oct. 6: Stanford (0-1)
Oct. 13: Arizona (1-1)
Oct. 20: at Notre Dame (0-2)
Oct. 27: at Oregon (2-0)
Nov. 3: Oregon State (1-1)
Nov. 10: at California (2-0)
Nov. 22: at Arizona State (2-0)
Dec. 1: UCLA (2-0)