In a week full of questions, one thing is certain. Fullback Stanley Havili doesn’t need surgery, at least not for now.
Havili dislocated his shoulder and tore ligaments during the game at Notre Dame. He hasn’t practiced all week and is questionable for the game Saturday against Oregon State. But it’ll take more than that for the senior fullback to miss a significant amount of time.
“We didn’t talk about [surgery] at all. I’m not having that conversation until the end of the season,” Havili said. “I’m not getting surgery during the season.”
With surgery out of the question, Havili is stabilizing his shoulder. But while Havili stays on the sidelines, the Trojans will turn to sophomore D.J. Shoemate to fill his shoes.
Until recently, USC coach Pete Carroll feared the day that Havili couldn’t play for the Trojans. But then Shoemate came along.
“We thought for the longest time we couldn’t find anyone that could replace Stanley. But I do think D.J.’s very capable of doing everything that Stanley can,” Carroll said. “He’s been out of the backfield more than Stanley has as far as lining up and running around. So he’s a really good kid for the position.”
Carroll actually recruited Shoemate to be a slot receiver. Shoemate played that position early in his high school career and then moved to running back his senior year. Carroll wanted Shoemate to get touches in the backfield, so fullback became his destination.
“He has shown that he can do everything and he has the kinds of qualities you need for the fullback spot,” Carroll said. “You have to be able to run, to catch. We thought we might be able to do something special with him and he winded up at fullback.”
Redshirt sophomore tailback Marc Tyler will need surgery on his foot. Tyler has been out with a sprained big toe since Sept. 10. He will most likely undergo surgery next week and he won’t be able to start jogging until January.
This leaves USC with only four scholarship tailbacks, as senior Stafon Johnson is also out for the year.
While it seems the Trojans are falling victim to the injury bug every week, one player is ready to rejoin the team. After crashing his motorcycle on the 110 Freeway Sept. 17, redshirt freshman Brian Baucham has resumed practice and is back in the competition for the third cornerback spot.
Baucham was the third cornerback before the accident, and T.J. Bryant has taken his spot in the nickel package. But Bryant still has favor with the coaching staff.
“Bach coming back changes things,” Carroll said. “But Bryant had a particularly good day today and yesterday. And he’s been playing on the inside which Bach hasn’t done.”
As for now, Baucham will remain behind Bryant on the depth chart.
Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers has drawn heaps of praise from Carroll this week. Carroll expressed amazement about Rodgers’ streak of holding on to the football.
In his Beavers career, Rodgers has 387 rushes and 67 receptions, and he hasn’t lost one fumble.
“I can’t even imagine how he’s been able to get through that with all the carries,” Carroll said. “This is a guy that’s an every down, lead your team kind of guy. It’s really an amazing statistic.”