USC Coach Pete Carroll was not surprised.
Carroll maintained for more than a week that Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells would recover from a foot injury in time to play against the top-ranked Trojans. So, Tuesday’s announcement by Buckeyes Coach Jim Tressel that Wells would play barely registered.
“He’s dealt with injuries real well through his career and basically fought through it,” Carroll said after Tuesday’s practice. “We just kind of assumed he would do it again.”
Before Wells’ status was updated, USC safety Kevin Ellison was asked whether he wanted to see Wells on the field for the fifth-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday at the Coliseum.
“Definitely,” Ellison said. “No question.”
Wells, who rushed for more than 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, was injured in the season opener against Youngstown State. He did not play last week against Ohio.
Wells reportedly told Tressel he was ready to carry the ball 45 times Saturday, but how much he plays will depend on the next few practices.
There was a time when Carroll hoped that Wells would be carrying the ball for the Trojans. The 6-foot-1, 237-pound junior is one of several Ohio State players who were recruited by USC.
“I think right after he came here [to visit], he went to Ohio State,” Carroll said. “So he knew what he wanted.”
Mark Sanchez also knew where he wanted to play. The junior quarterback is among several USC players who were recruited by Ohio State.
Sanchez said it was tough to say no to Tressel, but he balked at becoming a Buckeye in part because of weather. “They told me it was going to snow for the Michigan-Ohio State game,” Sanchez said. “I’ll go to the snow for the weekend.”
Cushing, Moore sit out
Linebacker Brian Cushing was pulled out of practice after suffering what he described as a hip pointer.
“It happened before we even had helmets on,” Cushing said. “I didn’t need that. But it’s a few days before the game so I’ll be fine.”
Cushing said X-rays were negative and that he would probably practice today.
Defensive end Kyle Moore sat out most of practice because of back spasms, but said he was not “going to let a little back hold me back from this Saturday.”
Receiver Vidal Hazelton (ankle) took part in some drills and said he hoped to practice today.
USC was sharp in several areas, but two field-goal attempts were blocked during a special teams drill. “That didn’t look good at all today,” Carroll said. . . . A USC pep rally will be Thursday at the Grove shopping area at 7:30 p.m.