USC safety Marshall Jones could play a more prominent role against Arizona State
Safety Marshall Jones, slowed by injuries throughout his USC career, is expected to play a larger role Saturday night when the Trojans meet Arizona State in a Pacific 10 Conference game at the Coliseum.
Jones, a junior who starred at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High, redshirted last season after suffering a broken vertebra in his neck. He has played as a reserve or on special teams in every game this season, but worked with the starters this week and could alternate with Jawanza Starling against the Sun Devils.
USC ranks 114th among 120 major college teams in pass defense. Starling and T.J. McDonald, both sophomores, have started every game at the safety positions.
“My body feels good and I’m ready to go out there and show them what I’ve got,” said Jones, who has 12 tackles, including one for a loss, and has broken up one pass.
Defensive lineman James Boyd, offensive lineman John Martinez and linebacker Marquis Simmons, all redshirt freshmen, have not practiced recently while serving suspensions related to academics and attendance, Coach Lane Kiffin said.
Receiver Thearon Collier, a junior transfer from Miami who had been excused from practices to concentrate on academic issues, also has been suspended from team activities.
“We have very high standards and expectations at USC of what it means to be a student-athlete and they were not meeting our expectations,” said Kiffin, adding that none of the suspensions were related to issues involving the law.
Freshman receiver Markeith Ambles and redshirt freshman linebacker Simione Vehikite also are serving suspensions for issues related to missed classes and tutoring sessions.
The soon-to-be Pacific 12 Conference released its 2011 football schedule.
Here’s how next fall looks for the Trojans, who will play nine Pac-10 opponents and three nonconference games: Sept. 3, Minnesota; Sept. 10, Utah; Sept. 17, Syracuse; Sept. 24, at Arizona State; Oct. 1, Arizona; Thursday Oct. 13, vs. California at AT&T Park in San Francisco; Oct. 22, at Notre Dame; Oct. 29, Stanford; Nov. 5, at Colorado; Nov. 12, Washington; Nov. 19, at Oregon; Nov. 26, UCLA.
The inaugural Pac-12 championship game will be played Dec. 3.
USC will not play Oregon State and Washington State in 2011 and 2012 and won’t play Oregon and Washington in 2013 and 2014.
Center Kristofer O’Dowd, cornerback Shareece Wright, fullback Stanley Havili and wide receiver Ronald Johnson have been invited to participate in the Senior Bowl. . . . USC is 17-9 against Arizona State.