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USC Sports

USC Now mailbag: LenDale White, Josh Shaw and Student Body Left

LenDale White
Fullback LenDale White scores his third touchdown of the game against Texas in the BCS title game at the Rose Bowl.
(Los Angeles Times file)

Want a question answered in a future USC Now mailbag?

Don’t hesitate to email me at LNThiry@gmail.com and I will respond on a future Friday.

Here is a sample of what you wrote in about this week. 

Observation: Perhaps LenDale White is still a little defensive about not gaining the needed two yards in the 2006 Rose Bowl game, which resulted in Texas getting the ball and driving for the winning score.

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-- Dana Roth, Pasadena

Reply: Of course he is!

After a great career at USC, that’s what some people seem to remember him for -- the time he came up short.

But don’t forget, White’s list of accomplishments is long.

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The Trojans were 37-2 and won two national titles in White’s three seasons.

Playing in the same backfield with Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, he rushed for 3,159 yards and a school-record 52 touchdowns.

White was a key contributor in USC’s 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl and -- despite falling short of a first down -- contributed in the Trojans’ 41-38 loss to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

Question: Will we see Josh Shaw this year?

--Dan Strull

Answer: If Shaw was going to be reinstated, I thought it would have happened at the midway point of the season.

That time has come and gone.

I doubt that Shaw will play for USC again.

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But this has been a season of drama, and Shaw’s late-season reinstatement would add another layer.

Question: The USC-Utah game looks like a contest between two wannabes. Both teams have had flashes of brilliance this season, but also some wart-showing performances. Who will finish off the other?

-- Calvin Lau

Answer: If we’re counting warts, I’d say USC has shown more than Utah – but perhaps that is only because I cover USC on a daily basis.

Utah’s lone blemish is a 28-27 defeat by Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Sept. 27.

The Utes are 5-1, including a road victory at UCLA and a thrilling double-overtime victory at Oregon State, a noteworthy win because it was achieved on one of those spooky Thursday nights at Reser Stadium, which is always a tough venue for visiting teams.

USC’s blemishes? The Trojans were defeated by Boston College, lost on a Hail Mary to Arizona State and almost squandered a fourth-quarter lead at Arizona.

If USC has started to stabilize from rocky performances, this would be the game to prove it.

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But Utah, with a roster that includes 35 Californians who would have liked a USC offer, has extra motivation.

Question: Do our Trojans do any or as many “Student Body Left or Right” plays (formations)? They were highly successful years ago.

-- Bob Burgan, ’63

Answer: The good ol’ days.

Student Body Left and Student Body Right were staple running plays of the John McKay and John Robinson eras, which produced Heisman Trophy winning tailbacks Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White and Marcus Allen, along with Heisman runners-up Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell.

That was also an era that produced tremendous Trojans offensive linemen and fullbacks, who led the way for the celebrated tailbacks.

Current Trojans tailback Javorius Allen has run for more than 100 yards six times in seven games, but Student Body Right has not been part of a USC coaching staff’s lexicon for decades.

I have noticed, however, that Allen has had some opportunities on pitch plays, so enjoy those for what they’re worth.

Questions or comments about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select emails in a weekly USC Now mailbag.


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