Crowd noise will be USC’s biggest obstacle Saturday


With the Trojans set to face Ohio State in 105,000-seat Ohio Stadium this Saturday, there’s one thing on their minds.

Not dual-threat quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Not lightning-bolt tailback Dan Herron.

It’ll be the noise level in the Horseshoe.

Volume control · The Trojans brought simulated crowd noise in practice to prepare Barkley (7) and the offense for the adverse conditions. - Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan

Volume control · The Trojans brought simulated crowd noise in practice to prepare Barkley (7) and the offense for the adverse conditions. - Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan

“The difference in this game is really the noise,” coach Pete Carroll said at his Tuesday press conference. “It’s the noise that is the factor, and we have to deal with that really well.”

To help do so, USC brought in speakers to Howard Jones Field at practice Tuesday and really turned up the noise. Multiple players said the noise was effective.

“These speakers are great,” said true freshman quarterback Matt Barkley. “I could barely hear myself shouting during the scrimmage.

“I think that’s the only factor that will get to us, the sound.”

Carroll also noted that one of USC’s most famous games — the 2005 Notre Dame that featured the Bush Push — took place in a high-volume situation, and Matt Leinart still managed to checkdown to receiver Dwayne Jarrett on a “critical” fourth-and-nine situation.

Junior center Kristofer O’Dowd missed the San Jose State contest with a dislocated right kneecap, but he suited up for scout team action in practice Tuesday and said he plans to play Saturday.

“Mentally, I’m ready to go,” O’Dowd said after practice Tuesday. “Physically, I’m getting there. Every day it’s getting better. I had a lot of reps today. By the end of the week I’ll be out there and hopefully in the starting lineup.”

O’Dowd was named to the preseason Rimington Award Watch List after a standout sophomore season, but he’s been injury-prone thus far in his career. He injured the same kneecap during his freshman season and underwent shoulder surgery this spring.

“He’s doing fine,” Carroll said. “We’ll wait and see how the film looks, but he’s got a couple more days. So far, he’s doing well.”

O’Dowd was officially medically cleared after practice.

On the defensive back front, redshirt senior cornerback Kevin Thomas missed practice with flu-like symptoms, leading Carroll to start developing a contingency plan in case a corner is needed to start across from Josh Pinkard against the Buckeyes.

Either redshirt freshman Brian Baucham or sophomore T.J. Bryant, both second-year defensive backs, could be the choice, but Baucham missed the San Jose State game due to illness.

Said Carroll: “We gotta wait to see how Baucham does, because he was right there sitting in the third spot before [he was injured] last week.”

Barkley turned 19 Tuesday. What did he do?

“I had tutoring and class and I watched some film,” Barkley said. “Just a normal Tuesday, nothing special.”