USC wants last word with Stanford

first_imgEven a fan who approached Carroll after practice this week begged him to put 70 points on the scoreboard. “I’m no fan of his,” the fan said, referring to Harbaugh. But with the Cardinal limping into the Coliseum minus their starting quarterback and with a shabby record (1-3, 0-3 Pacific-10), even the idea of running up the score seems a bit hollow today. Carroll laughed off suggestions this week he wanted some measure of revenge against Harbaugh, who said last spring Carroll would leave USC after this season. But Carroll’s never hidden his irritation at that comment and some other remarks by Harbaugh about Stanford’s more stringent admission standards. “I’ll just give one of my canned answers (at the press conference),” Carroll said about his feelings for Harbaugh. “I’m laughing all of this off.” For whatever reason, Harbaugh’s emerged with a prickly reputation in coaching circles. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Harbaugh comments aside, Trojans try to regain form. By Scott Wolf STAFF WRITER One of the pressing questions this offseason was whether USC coach Pete Carroll might run up the score against Stanford following some controversial comments from Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh. “I really want to beat him because of some of the things he said,” said a Pacific-10 Conference coach who referred to comments unrelated to USC. “He’s not a popular guy.” But the Carroll vs. Harbaugh rivalry might not have much fizz considering the lopsided matchup. Harbaugh’s certainly been gracious the past few months. “I admire the way they play … their athletes and the way they are coached,” he said. “This is one of college football’s true dynasty teams and I’m very impressed.” And Carroll’s got other concerns today. The No. 2-ranked Trojans (4-0, 2-0) laid an egg in Seattle last week and nearly lost to Washington, 27-24. That game kicked some urgency into a team that breezed past Idaho, Nebraska and Washington State. Carroll craves a four-quarter performance, which really only occurred against Washington State. “It doesn’t matter who we play,” Carroll said. “We have a standard we want to live up to no matter who we play. Last week we didn’t accomplish that or live up to that standard. “We could have easily lost last week like so many other teams.” His expectations are quite simple for today’s game: “If we play well, that’s all we hope for.” To do that, the Trojans better get more out of quarterback John David Booty although it might not matter against lowly Stanford. Booty was upbeat this week despite one of his worst performances, when he threw two interceptions and had two passes deflected. “Even the best pitchers in the world get jacked around sometimes,” Booty said. “I put it behind me.” It’s inconceivable Booty could struggle against Stanford like he did against Washington, but today’s game is also going to be an audition of sorts for freshman tailback Joe McKnight, who should get the most carries of his career after a disappointing start. “I’ve felt the whole time I’ve wanted to get him production in the offense, ” Carroll said. This appears to be the day because USC is without tailback C.J. Gable, who underwent groin surgery Friday. And tailback Stafon Johnson (bruised foot) is highly questionable. That leaves McKnight, Hershel Dennis and Allen Bradford as the backups behind starter Chauncey Washington (South Torrance High). And the offense should get plenty of opportunities. Stanford’s two-back offense, which offers few variations, plays right into USC’s hands defensively. “They have a lot of stuff but don’t run it because they don’t have confidence in it,” the Pac-10 coach said. Especially without their quarterback. Stanford quarterback T.C. Ostrander will miss the game after suffering a seizure at a restaurant last Sunday. He will be replaced by sophomore Tavita Pritchard, who has thrown only two passes this season. It’s not just that Stanford is undermanned and overwhelmed by USC’s talent. Arizona State held the Cardinal to three points last week and that was with Ostrander. But no one told Harbaugh this would be an overnight success. “We welcome guys who want to compete and fight,” Harbaugh said. “We are building that. We are getting more of that each and every week. You are finding out who those guys are. They make themselves known. They have a tremendous challenge this week and we welcome those guys who love to do that.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read More →