USC safety Taylor Mays prides himself on making physical plays, but he was shocked that some recent ones resounded all the way to the nation’s capital.
That’s what happened Wednesday when Mays got blindsided by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on NFL head injuries.
Lungren, a Notre Dame graduate, first talked about former Oakland Raiders player Jack Tatum setting the bar for hits designed to injure.
He then complained about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow being rushed back from a concussion before finally getting to Mays.
The congressman didn’t identify the two-time All-American by name, but said that while attending a Notre Dame game a couple of weeks ago he “saw a headhunter on the field” tear the helmet off a player.
Lungren was referring to Mays’ fourth-quarter hit on Notre Dame receiver Robby Parris, who lost his helmet on the play. Lungren said that no penalty was called on the play, but Mays was actually flagged for a personal foul.
Lungren then pointed out that last Saturday Mays tore the helmet off Oregon State receiver James Rodgers, on a play the Beavers scored a touchdown. No penalty was called on that play, and the Pacific 10 Conference on Monday announced it had suspended the official who should have made a call.
Coach Pete Carroll this week defended Mays’ physical style and Rodgers on Tuesday absolved Mays of dirty play.
When informed of Lungren’s comments, Mays reiterated that he was not out to injure other players. He also wondered aloud if he might hear from the White House next.
“Maybe [President] Obama will give me a call,” he said, chuckling. “I don’t have any bad intentions. I don’t know how it could get that far but that’s just the reality of the situation.”
After facing two strong passers in Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen and Oregon State’s Sean Canfield, the Trojans are switching gears as they prepare for Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon’s mobile quarterback. “This is like our bread and butter,” middle linebacker Chris Galippo said. “We’ve been preparing for the spread offense, I feel like, since camp knowing that San Jose State was going to come out in it and Ohio State was going to use some of it.
“So this is really our best stuff right now. . . . It’s good to be back into some stuff that we’re super confident in.”
Tailback Marc Tyler, who was scheduled to have toe surgery today, said this week that he expects to be a father by the time he begins running again.
Tyler, a third-year sophomore, said his girlfriend is due to deliver a daughter in the next few weeks.
Tyler would be the fourth Trojans running back to be a father, joining senior tailback Stafon Johnson, senior fullback Adam Goodman and junior tailback Joe McKnight.
Defensive tackle Christian Tupou, who did not start the last two games because of a knee injury, has been practicing with the first-team defense. Carroll said it had not yet been decided if Tupou would start. . . . Receiver Damian Williams sat out most of practice again because of a sore glute, but Carroll said he would play against Oregon. . . . McKnight sat out much of practice because of knee tightness, Carroll said. . . . Fullback Stanley Havili said he had been cleared to practice without contact, but D.J. Shoemate will almost certainly start again at fullback. . . . Anthony McCoy (ankle) would have to practice today to play on Saturday. . . . Safety Drew McAllister remains on crutches after aggravating a hip injury on Monday.
Times staff writer Mike Hiserman contributed to this report.