USC tailback Dillon Baxter is ready for an increased role

Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian will be on the lookout for USC tailback Dillon Baxter during Saturday night’s Pacific 10 Conference game at the Coliseum — and that’s fine with Baxter.

Sarkisian, without prompting, said this week that he anticipated Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin would deploy the freshman in a larger role against the Huskies.

Baxter has rushed for 148 yards in 30 carries and has five receptions for 25 yards. But the multiple-purpose threat who had a hand in 79 touchdowns as a quarterback, running back and receiver during his senior season at San Diego Mission Bay High has yet to reach the end zone.

“There’s a lot of people from San Diego saying, ‘Is this going to be that game where you score that touchdown?’ ” Baxter said this week. “When you don’t do it, you get a little down on yourself.


“There’s definitely pressure from the outside, but I put a lot on myself. I’m just worried about what’s best for the team and trying to get a win.”

Still, Baxter would welcome a chance to cross the goal line against the Huskies.

“It will come when it comes,” he said. “We have a pretty good game plan this week. Hopefully, it will get me in the end zone.”

On call


Kickers Erik Folk of Washington and Joe Houston of USC spoke by phone this week.

They shared the same kicking coach when they were in high school, Folk at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Houston at Manhattan Beach Mira Costa.

“We don’t really talk a lot about football, just what’s going with everything else,” Houston said.

Folk’s three field goals in Washington’s 16-13 victory over the Trojans last season at Seattle included the game-winner. He is three for three this season.

Houston is one for four after missing from 39 yards last week against Washington State.

“That just can’t happen anymore,” he said. “I’m going to just do what I’m capable of. And that’s making kicks.”

Quick kicks

Washington has not defeated USC at the Coliseum since 1996, when the Huskies won, 21-10…. Washington, looking to strengthen its Southern California recruiting base this weekend, has 41 players from California on its roster. USC has none from Washington…. Washington’s staff not only includes former Trojans coordinators Sarkisian and Nick Holt, but also secondary coach Demetrice Martin, who was a graduate assistant at USC in 2006 and 2007. Former USC All-American defensive end Kenechi Udeze is an assistant strength and conditioning coach.