Trojans eye redemption as Husky rematch nears
The Trojans officially went into revenge mode Tuesday, practicing with all of their focus on the team that beat them in one of USCâs biggest upsets last year â Washington.
âTheyâve gone 365 days with that victory and weâre upset about it,â senior linebacker Michael Morgan said. âWeâve let our fans down, our families down, so weâre going to make sure we come out with a âW.ââ
Huskies quarterback Jake Locker, a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, is the main focus for USC. The dual-threat quarterback ran for a touchdown and threw for 237 yards enroute to last yearâs 16-13 victory.
Yet, heâs shown that he can be stopped, going 4-for-20 for 71 yards and two interceptions in a blowout loss to Nebraska earlier this year. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they canât copy the formula Nebraska used to beat the Huskies.
âIf you can find six DBs that all run about 4.4, you can put a game plan [for Locker] in where you put all of them in together like [Nebraska] did,â USC coach Lane Kiffin said. âWhenever he broke, for the most part they were able to catch him. Thatâs something that, with our personnel, we donât have the ability to do, so we have to go a different direction.â
USC has had some trouble containing dual-threat quarterbacks in the past â see Oregon quarterback Jeramiah Masoli last year and Hawaiâiâs signal-caller Bryant Moniz this season â so that is something the Trojans are focusing on this week.
âHe has a hell of an arm, so weâve got to respect his passing game. But weâve got to make sure we focus on the run, because this year [Moniz] scrambled on us a little bit, so we gotta focus on that as well,â Morgan said.
Redshirt sophomore defensive end Wes Horton was limited in practice Tuesday. Horton left Saturdayâs game late in the third quarter after being kicked in the back while falling down attempting to make a tackle by redshirt sophomore defensive end Nick Perry.
Horton said after the game his back was sore and said he still felt some pain Tuesday.
Kiffin said he is hopeful Horton can play this weekend, but Horton hadnât talked to the doctors about that before practice Tuesday.
âIâm feeling alright, but the coaches want me to just take it one day at a time,â Horton said. âIâve got to talk to the doctors. Iâm going to talk to them right now, then Iâll get a better idea of whatâs going on. Iâm still a little bit sore, but theyâre taking care of me.â
Los Angeles has been struck with record temperatures the past few days, and Kiffin said he hoped the heat would stay a little longer.
However, the temperature Tuesday was only in the 90s, and it seemed to get cooler right before practice started.
âI thought the practice today just started OK,â Kiffin said. âI was hoping for the heat to stay out here, but for whatever reason the heat dropped 10-15 degrees right before we started, so hopefully itâll be hot again tomorrow. I thought we really pushed our guys and challenged them to get in better shape so they can really play a complete game.â